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5 Tips for Managing Both a Cancer Diagnosis and a Career

1. Managing the side effects of treatment

Have a conversation with your healthcare team about how your treatment might affect you at work and be sure to share specifics about what your job entails. This can help you figure out strategies to manage symptoms. It will also allow you to make informed decisions about any work modifications you may need.

2. Know the laws and study your options

The law is one of the tools you may be able to use to balance work and cancer. If you need to ask for a job modification, look into both federal and state fair-employment laws. Also learn about health insurance laws and job-protected leave laws in addition to your company’s policies on disability, flex time, telecommuting, etc. before you disclose your diagnosis at work.

3. Sharing your diagnosis

Deciding whether to share your diagnosis at work is very personal and requires weighing several factors. What treatment side effects are you likely to experience? What does the law require and how might it work in your favor? What is your work environment like? Answering these questions can help you figure out if you want to disclose and, if so, what and when.

4. Be mindful of what you say online

You may think you are safe posting on your social networks about your cancer history, but with changing privacy settings, you have to protect yourself. Employers may be able to access what you post, so it’s important to consider the effects of your online behavior.

5. Contact Cancer and Careers

Cancer and Careers is a national non-profit that empowers and educates people with cancer to thrive in their workplaces by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events — all free-of-charge.

Rebecca Nellis, Executive Director, Cancer and Careers, [email protected]

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