Working During Your Cancer Treatment

Your guide to coping with work-life balance

One of the first things that may come to your mind post a cancer diagnosis is how it may affect your work-life balance. You may have questions like

Will my cancer treatment require long periods off work?

Will the side effects of treatment be manageable if I continue working?

Will my supervisor and peers be supportive?

As a crucial first step, consult with your physician and cancer care team about your plans to work, and how it will impact various aspects of your care. Weigh the pros and cons of how your treatment schedule will affect work and discuss the steps to efficiently manage the side effects. Make an informed decision about whether you want to continue working full time, opt for fewer hours, work remotely, or take a sabbatical.

Make the Choice That is Right for You

Going to work during your cancer treatment journey is largely a personal decision. Your caregiver and family might advise you to rest during your treatment journey. However, you may feel that working will

Give you a much-needed sense of routine

Help you feel good about yourself

Offer an additional source of income

Many cancer patients choose to continue working during treatment, since not all types of cancer treatments hinder your ability to work. Research also states that working during your cancer treatment journey enhances your life management skills and helps you maintain as normal a daily routine as possible. It also promotes an overall sense of well-being and boosts confidence levels. 

Some cancer patients may continue working full-time while they are getting their treatment, while others may choose to work on a part time basis. Some choose to work with a less demanding schedule and take a few sick leaves to cope with the treatment schedules and side effects. 

The most important aspects of sustaining a work-life balance during your cancer treatment journey are:

Your personal feelings and goals

Your family’s situation

The willingness and ability of your employer to accommodate any specific requirements that you may have

No matter who you are, your situation and journey are unique. It is critical to have open discussions with your loved ones and your employer and make sure that the choice you make is right for you.

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