If your cancer diagnosis came when you were employed, it may or may not have affected your ability to work while you received treatment. 

While some patients are able to keep working, often finding it a welcome distraction from dealing with cancer, others need a break. For them, that may involve anything from taking a leave of absence to quitting altogether due to treatment itself or the side effects that can come along with it. 

If you stepped away from work during cancer treatment and are ready to return, 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. 

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

  • Is it necessary to inform your employer about your cancer diagnosis?  
  • Do you feel as though you can handle a full-time job, or should you start slower with a part-time position? 
  • Has your cancer journey changed your views regarding 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 specific job? 

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. Be sure to listen to your body, only proceeding at a speed that feels comfortable. Most importantly, remember that there’s no shame in asking others to be patient with you as you adjust to your new normal.