5 Tips for Working During Cancer Treatment

Aug 7 • 2015

Many people want to live their lives as normally as possible after a cancer diagnosis. Once treatment has begun, whether you continue to work depends on a variety of factors, including what kind of treatment you are receiving, your overall health, what kind of work you do, and the stage of your cancer. Your doctor may recommend limiting some of your activities, and you may even determine on your own that some of your responsibilities are too much. However, many people successfully continue to work during cancer treatment. Keep these tips in mind to balance your health and your work:

Discuss Scheduling Options
If your job is flexible, speak with your boss about working from home on certain days of the week. By being in the comfort of your own home, you may feel less tired. It also makes it much easier to deal with any health issues that may arise from treatment, such as nausea. If you find yourself becoming tired earlier in the evening, see if you can come into the office earlier. Being able to adjust your work schedule as your cancer treatment continues can be a huge benefit.

Plan Ahead with Treatment
When scheduling your chemotherapy treatments, consider having them late in the day or on a Friday night so you have the weekend to cope with any side effects and recover for the work week. Not only will you feel better and be more productive during the week, you’ll also reduce the chances of having to call off last minute if you are experiencing negative side effects from the treatment.

Talk to Your Colleagues
Let the people you work with understand what you’re dealing with. Not only will this help them provide you with support at work, but they may also be able to step in and help with projects so your workload is more manageable. Additionally, make sure your boss is always informed about your treatment schedule, any changes that you may need to make at work, and how well adjustments at your job are working for your needs.

Have Things Prepared
Just in case you do have to miss work, make sure you have a list of your duties and responsibilities that is easily accessible. If you have any detailed projects on your list, make sure to lay out exactly what is expected from them. This way other coworkers can step in and make sure that your items are covered until you can return to the office.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Having help in all facets of your life makes working during cancer treatment easier. If you’re finding yourself buried under chores at home, ask a friend or family member to help so you can conserve some of that energy for going to work the next day. If your workload is too much, speak with your supervisor or colleagues to see if someone can help you manage your responsibilities.