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  • Cancer and Your Career: Overcoming Obstacles

    Cancer and Your Career

    You’ve been diagnosed with cancer and a million thoughts are going through your mind. Of course you worry about your health, you go on an emotional roller coaster ride and you struggle with the uncertainty that the future brings. You feel strong enough to fight and overcome cancer. But then it hits you – will I lose my job? How do I deal with this while working full time? What do I tell my employer? How much time am I going to need off from work?

    During a time filled with many emotional and physical stresses, the last thing anyone needs to worry about is whether or not they could lose their job at the same time. Most people have bills and families to support. Since most people’s health insurance also comes from their employer a job loss could mean losing health insurance. A sudden loss of income and insurance could make a devastating situation even worse. Hopefully you have an employer and co-workers who are compassionate and willing do what they can to support you during this difficult time.

    It is important when you are ready to talk with your employer that you openly and honestly let them know what they can expect. Also ask them to be flexible since there are no guarantees along the way that things will go precisely to plan. Try to be understanding of your employer’s situation as well. Ultimately they are running a business and the work still needs to be done. They might consider hiring a temporary worker or dividing your duties between several other employees at times when you can’t be there. If your job requires a lot of physical strength they may modify your duties to something that is easier for you to handle.

    Perhaps you can work from home when you are up for it. There are also companies that help out with financial assistance for cancer patients. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have an employer who will work with you, it is important to know your rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) were both put in place to give people the time they need to receive treatment and recover from illness while still keeping their job safe. Whatever your situation may be it will be a load off your mind knowing that you can take the time you need to focus on recovery and still have a job to go back to when the time comes.