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Cancer Survivorship

Finding 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 from your job while you were being treated. Some people want to and are able to keep working throughout their treatment. They may consider work a welcome distraction from dealing with cancer.

Others decide to take a leave of absence from work while they are being treated, or quit their job entirely. Cancer treatment involves regular visits with the oncologist and often leaves patients feeling tired, physically weak, and mentally foggy. For some, taking a break is the best option.

If you stopped working during cancer treatment and are ready to go back to work, now that you're a cancer survivor, you may not be sure how to proceed. If you’re ready to return to your previous job, how much should you share about what you are, or have been, going through?

If you’re ready to find a new job and re-enter the workplace, you may face different dilemmas, such as:

  • Should you tell employers about your cancer diagnosis?
  • Should you look for a full-time job or ease back into work with a part-time position?
  • Has your cancer journey changed your idea about the type of job you want?
  • Have you had experiences during your cancer journey that may make you particularly suited to a certain job?

Whether you are returning to your former job or pursuing a fresh start, don’t feel obligated to rush the process. Be gentle with yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask others to be patient with you as you find and settle into your new normal.