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Austin Area Woman Says Co-Workers Helped Her Through Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast cancer patients can be forced to go through months of treatment that causes hair loss, constant fatigue, even nausea, and not to mention possible reconstruction surgeries. It's a lot to deal with.

Publication: KVUE-TV (ABC, Austin)
10/10/2018

Breast cancer patients can be forced to go through months of treatment that causes hair loss, constant fatigue, nausea and not to mention possible reconstruction surgeries.

It's a lot to deal with.

"It is very intense and requires everything of me,” said survivor Mindy Sue Cohen.

She was diagnosed in 2010 and again in 2015. Cohen went through six rounds of chemo, two lumpectomies, a mastectomy and 38 radiation treatments.

"Everybody was so supportive,” said Cohen.

Everyone including her co-workers.

She said they stepped in to help -- making her food, giving her scarves to wrap around her head, driving her to doctor's appointments, sitting with her during treatment. One co-worker even went on work trips in her place.

"To know that they had my back was really, really important,” said Cohen.

Doctor Debra Patt at Texas Oncology said that support is vital.

"We all need support through this journey, it makes the world of difference for most patients,” said Patt.

She also said working can help keep patients a little distracted.

"It's good to be mentally occupied with the things that make you feel normal,” said Patt.

"I worked full time throughout my treatment,” said Cohen.

But that's not the case for everyone.

According to one study, about 40 percent of both men and women stopped working during their cancer treatment.

"If we require chemo therapy that may be anywhere between four and a half and six months that you're receiving chemo therapy -- it makes it a little harder to work or continue to work full time,” said Patt.

Patt encourages patients who want to keep working to talk to their human resources department to know their benefits, find out their rights and talk about possible accommodations such as moving desk locations, telecommuting or possibly reducing hours.

It's something Cohen is glad she did.

"It just took a load off of me, to know that my employer had my back,” said Cohen.

Click here to watch the full story.

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