Cancer is becoming more prevalent in the workplace due to factors such an increasing retirement age, early detection and the chronic nature of the disease.
You are not required to stop working if you have been diagnosed with cancer. On the contrary, research shows that patients who are in a good enough physical health to continue working benefit from a higher quality of life, as being active in the workforce provides needed social contact. .
If you decide to continue working, speak with your employer about any adjustments that may be needed, such as working remotely and/or part-time or changing your role. The same applies if you are returning to work after taking sick leave.
In cases where your treatment is more intense, be it physically and/or psychologically, it may be best to stop working, at least temporarily. Keep in mind that the decision to stop working is not definitive.
The occupational physician is also an important partner in your efforts and can help you make your choice. Like any health professional, he is bound by professional secrecy. He can also impose adjustments to your workstation and/or workload on your employer.
As mentioned previously, speak with your employer about how you can adapt your role and/or working conditions. In addition, treatments can often be adapted to better meet your lifestyle. Speak with your oncologist early on about your professional constraints.
The financial implications of cancer can be quite burdensome, particularly if your treatment requires you to change roles, reduce your working hours or stop working completely. Be sure to check what you are legally entitled to as an employee.
In some cases, it may be possible and helpful to obtain “disabled worker” status.