Returning to Work

Adapting to a New “Normal” At Work

If you were employed when you were diagnosed with cancer, you may or may not have taken some time off while you were being treated. For some patients, continuing to work is doable and oftentimes, a welcome distraction from dealing with cancer. 

Others, however, take a leave of absence from work while they are being treated, or quit their job entirely for various reasons, including feeling tired, physically weak, and mentally foggy from frequent cancer treatment visits. In cases such as this, taking a break is the best option. 

If you stepped away from work during cancer treatment and are ready to go back, it’s likely you are faced with feelings of uncertainty regarding how to proceed. You might be wondering how much you should share about what you are, or have been, going through as a cancer survivor, among other things. 

In regards to employment, being a cancer survivor can come with its own set of challenges whether you are looking for a new job or re-entering the one you took a leave from. There may be times that certain dilemmas arise, including: 

  • Does your employer need to know about your cancer diagnosis? 
  • Has your cancer journey changed your views about the type of job you want? 
  • Did any of your cancer journey experiences leave you with new skills that could make you more suited to a certain job? 
  • Are you up for full-time employment or should you ease back into work with a part-time position? 

Regardless of whether you are returning to your former job or starting over, there’s no need to succumb to pressure if you truly aren’t ready. Pay attention to how you feel and proceed at a speed that makes you comfortable. Most importantly, remember that it’s ok to ask others to be patient with you as you find and settle into your new normal.