Work and oncology: how to combine?

Cancer and the working process can often coexist peacefully. Today’s therapies often allow for treatment without serious loss of quality of life. Often it is enough just to adjust the work schedule. But the question of combining treatment and work should still be discussed with your doctor.

Is it worth quitting?

Even during cancer surgery, it is not always necessary to quit your job. But you should not make any decision on your own, even if you really want to. To understand the rationality of action, you should consult with your doctor. He will analyze your medical history and data on the course of the disease, and then give the right verdict.

Do I have to tell my bosses about the diagnosis?

You don’t have to tell your bosses about your diagnosis if the illness doesn’t require long-term hospital treatment and you are confident that you can cope with your duties. In this matter, you will also help your doctor. Ask him about all the nuances of your disease and treatment:

What symptoms may develop?
How will the treatment go?
Can there be any side effects of the medication?
What kind of side effects can there be?
Does the disease lead to disability?

Answers to these questions will help to properly assess the situation and make a decision.

Will I be able to work?

A lot depends on your inner state and life circumstances. Sometimes, we have to work even when we cannot: bad financial situation, having small children, etc. Nevertheless, during treatment, you must think about your health first of all and estimate your strengths adequately. Otherwise, the effectiveness of therapy can decrease significantly, and everything will drag on for a long time. Ask yourself the following questions:

Can I work at my former schedule and with a steady workload now?
Can someone help me with household chores and treatment?
Can I afford to quit/lose my job?
Can someone help me financially?
Would I be comfortable working in an office or should I move to a remote job?

Give yourself an honest answer to each question.

What do I do if I need surgery?

If you are officially employed, you have the right to take extended sick leave and prolong it with paid time off and/or time off at your own expense. Add up all the days you can be officially off work and notify your doctor of the result. The specialist will calculate how much time you will need to prepare for the operation, its implementation and rehabilitation. He will then tell you whether you will be able to fit into the timeframe allowed.

Can I combine my treatment with my work?

If your doctor has allowed you to work, plan your new schedule. For example, undergo therapy before the weekend, so that you can recover during these days and safely resume your duties. Ask your family and friends to help with household chores, so you don’t have to carry an extra burden. Make a list of all your work and household chores, write down which of them can be canceled or done in a while and which require urgent decisions. This will make your life during treatment more flexible.

Don’t be afraid to be honest!

If the situation is out of control, you can’t combine and all of your sick and vacation time is out – talk to your management. Ask them to switch to part-time or full-time remote work. Often the bosses make concessions and help you cope with the illness financially, paying extra money, or by relaxing working conditions, distributing part of your duties among the other employees.