• Were you able to find work after being diagnosed with cancer? I feel like my cancer is stopping me from working. I need advice.

    Asked by spratt8687 on Monday, September 17, 2012

    Were you able to find work after being diagnosed with cancer? I feel like my cancer is stopping me from working. I need advice.

    20 Answers from the Community

    20 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      I was able to work during my treatments. I had to take one day off every other week for my chemo infusion. My boss was also very flexible with me so if I had a doctors appointment in the morning, she would let me work late instead of having to take time off.

      I think there is really something to be said for having to get up, get in the shower, get dressed and get out the door every day. I'm not saying it's easy, but for me, it kept me going and not allowing cancer to consume my life. I think it also helped me to have some "normal" things in my life when so much was different.

      Everyone has to do what is right for them. If you feel like you can't work, then explore your options. Good luck to you.

      about 8 years ago
    • spratt8687's Avatar

      I can work I just need every other Thursday off. It seems like not too many places will hire someone who has cancer.

      about 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      You are not required to tell them you have cancer any more than you are required to tell them your sexual orientation, if you have kids, etc. Unless the nature of the jobs you are applying for have physical or schedule requirements you cannot meet, it isn't a non-issue. If you are making it an issue in interviews or applications, then it may be that you find it to be an issue that may be causing you not to be hired. In other words, you are communicating to perspective employers that you find it to be a problem. Or it may be that you are making a wrong assumption and you are not being hired because you are not the most qualified applicant. Job are tight and competition is fierce for every one, cancer or not.

      about 8 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      From a business owners point of view, I wouldn't care if you had cancer or not, if you could do the job. And as Nancy says, you don't have to tell me that you have it. Now on the other hand, once you are hired, and you continually cannot report to work, some companies are too small to adjust their work schedule to have enough people on staff to take up the slack. Then it becomes a problem. I have been on the other side too, was just hired at a job and a month later was diagnosed for the first time. I worked through most all of the treatments. But I was off for lots of days, for surgery, treatments, got sick had to be in the hospital, etc. My employer at that time was good enough to let me work around it.

      Most will have flexiblility to work with you, unless you try to take advantage of them, then your gone, cancer or not.

      Best of luck to you. Sell your skills, don't sell your cancer.

      about 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      ooops, just saw my errant double negative typo in my previous post. ".... it isn't a non-issue"....should have read, "it is a non-issue" or "it isn't an issue:.....dang chemo brain.

      Greg said it best.....:.Sell your skills, don't sell your cancer".

      about 8 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      1. Do not tell them you have cancer. That's your private business.

      2. Use your secret weapon killer kung fu smile to your advantage.

      3. Believe that nothing can hold you back. There are a lot of people out there. You wouldn't want to work for anyone who doesn't understand anyway.

      4. Emphasize what you can do. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. Hey that would make a good song.

      5. If cancer is physically stopping you from working, take advantage of every resource available, buy a nice hammock, find a beach, and take it easy. You deserve it. Cancer stinks.

      about 8 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I hate to hear you're having this problem. You have enough on your mind battling this horrible disease and now you have to worry about work. I hope things work out for you. Good luck with your treatments!! : )

      about 8 years ago
    • veesandee's Avatar

      I would love to work. But I can not get insurance that the job offers because the pre-existing comdition. I do not have the strength to to do anything for more a couple of hours. I take over $3,000 worth of medications monthly, due to my liver transplant. During my chemo, it was imposible to work. So if you can work, go for it!

      about 8 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      Yes, you certainly don't have to tell a prospective employer and they aren't permitted to ask. Of course, that won't stop some from prying. I think the real problem, though, is that every other Thursday off business. It's a lot to expect of a small employer that they don't have the flexibility to schedule you every other Thursday. And they probably don't want to have to remember which Thursdays you have treatment. If you could find a way to work around that it would help.

      The insurance problem--pre-existing condition--is a real one. But Obamacare will probably help there.

      about 8 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      I had a girlfriend who was an MD and was immediately terminated from her job when she was diagnosed. Some companies are unable to afford to be flexible. some companies don't wish to bother to be flexible. If you are strong and positive enough you can likely get any job your skill set allows.

      Keeping that job is an entirely other matter.

      about 8 years ago
    • berly462005's Avatar

      I worked and it did help to get out of bed. I also made myself walk on the treadmill before work the days I felt decent. I truly believe it helped my mind and body. I think it would be so easy to stay in bed but I guess I am not that type of person. My boss was very flexible and I usually just worked until noon.

      about 8 years ago
    • arashkya's Avatar

      I actually wasn't able to work while being treated. My body just didn't have the strength and focus. But once I was finished with treatments and trying to get back into the work force, I did notice that people have a lot of prejudice towards cancer patients (even in remission).

      There were a few jobs that I was turned away from, but I actually found that it was more to my benefit to inform my employers that I was in remission. This allowed a lot of understanding from the get-go that I would be taking time off for tests and follow-ups with my doctors. I was lucky to find a desk job, with an office that has had employees with cancer in the past, and continues to in the present. They are very understanding.

      The only reason your cancer should stop you, is if you physically can't do it. Don't let the opinions of a few people deter you. It's legally wrong for them to prejudice you for your condition.

      about 8 years ago
    • ScrapbookerKay's Avatar

      Once diagnosed I was determined to work and keep things the same. I worked during all the 8 chemo treatments whether I felt like it or not. I finished the chemo and my employer overheard me say I had 6 treatments of Rituxan to do and I was "laid off" the next day. So much for dedication. He's had 5 people working my job since I was laid off in Nov. 2009 and they have all quit. It took a while, but I found a new and better job. Things always seem to work out.

      about 8 years ago
    • Crash's Avatar

      It's the economy, not you.

      about 8 years ago
    • mgm48's Avatar
      mgm48 (Best Answer!)

      I see many good pieces of advice which may not be exactly what you are looking for. If what you mean is YOU feel that the cancer is in your way , STOP! Cancer is just a disease and you treat it. It can not take over your life without your permission. What ever you do remember to keep a positive attitude. I have said this more times than even I can remember "there is no black cloud without a silver lining" - that's how I've decided to live my life. I refuse to let cancer or anything else dictate how my life goes. You're way too young to give up, you may have been dealt a lousy hand but with the right bluff even lousy hands win. Go out there and win!

      Keep it positive and Smile:)

      about 8 years ago
    • chucha11584's Avatar

      Its unfortunate to get diagnosed with cancer as it is and even harder to find a job that will be flexible with our schedules. Luckily, I was diagnosed while still employed. My boss was kind enough to continue me on payroll as I was doing chemos and when I was hospitalized for my stem cell transplant. God is great and knows the right time for everything. I can acknowledge my boss for the compassion he had for me and my family. I am currently working and going to chemo at the same time. I go to chemo and back to work. I think that keeping a mind occupied is the best remedy for any depression of cancer. It allows you to forget about what we are living and give us an oppurtunity to enjoy life to the fullest. I have no time for depression with my 4-year old keeping me busy at all times.

      about 8 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      Unless you have notable physical signs or limitations that would impede you from doing your job, there is no reason to tell anyone anything. Once you tell someone you have cancer, you can't take those words back and they will forever see you as a cancer sufferer, even if you have been in remission for years.

      about 8 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      I'm not working right now due to having back surgery a month ago. I, too, will be seeking a new position. Like everyone has been saying, we don't have to disclose that we have cancer. If you can work during treatment, go for it! Good luck in your search and in your journey! We can do it!!!

      about 8 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar

      I started out working 10 hours a week instead of the 20 I had been working, but ended up taking a leave. At first, work kept my mind on other things, but then as I became weaker from the treatments, it became too difficult to drag myself into work.
      After my treatments, I took 5 more months off, them returnd for 10 hours for a few months, now I am back to work 20 hrs a week and volunteering my time to a homeless shelter. hang in there! It gets better, listen to your body.

      about 8 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I was working during my last cancer treatment and I made the mistake of going back to work too soon (I felt guilty about taking time off). Make sure you listen to your body. If you are having trouble finding work think about looking for a temp job. This will allow you to work shorter jobs and rest in between also my experience has been that this allows you to find out more about the company as well as possibly lead to a permanent position. I agree with the other answers, you do not have to tell employers about your health, it is not something they are allowed to ask. Make sure you take care of yourself! Tracy

      about 8 years ago

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