Monday, February 6, 2012

The Big "W" - Work after Cancer.

Returning to work after cancer treatment can be an exciting and relief-filled event. Getting back to a more “normal” schedule and having a steady income and insurance coverage again can relieve some of the anxiety you may have been experiencing while you were out.

However, it can also be a very anxiety-provoking time for many reasons. More than likely, your energy and endurance is not what is used to be. You may be worried that you won’t be able to handle a full day of work in the beginning. Your attention span might also have been affected by the treatment, and you may find it difficult to focus for extended periods of time. You may be concerned about being treated differently if your co-workers know about your diagnosis, or you may worry about them asking questions if you have chosen not to tell them. There may be a lot of pressure for you to return to work due to financial need or to ensure insurance coverage. This can make re-entry even more anxiety-producing.

Sometimes cancer leads people to seek career changes or to set new goals. This can be a wonderful thing, but it can be difficult to know where to start. You may find it helpful to talk to a counselor about your concerns as you approach this step.

It is important to know your rights and what resources are available to you.
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) can provide you with legal information about insurance coverage, employment issues, access to health care and benefits, and estate planning. You can find them online under.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services is another resource that may be able to help you with finding employment if your ability to work has been affected by your treatment. They can be found under.

What are your concerns about returning to work? How did you work through the issues you faced when you returned?

~ Julie, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center

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