Most people experience a period of absence for work in their experience of cancer around initial tests or investigations for unexplained symptoms, once they receive a diagnosis or start treatment. As we know, cancer treatments vary greatly in their impact on your capacity depending on how many treatment types you have (i.e., surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy), how many treatments or surgeries you have, the duration of your treatment, if you experienced any complications or depending on how many side-effects you experience (and how severely).
We also know that paid work looks different for everyone! Some people have very flexible jobs in terms of how, when and where people work, whilst others are more rigid in what they require. We all have different demands – mental, physical, emotional, social or all of these demands! The environment that you work in may be able to be highly controlled or very dynamic, you may be supported by a large organisation with HR resources or work for a small business, or be self-employed. Or, you may have been in between roles or not have been able to retain your position or contract because of your diagnosis. You may have leave or other entitlements you can access or you may not have access to any financial support.
All of these factors can influence whether an individual is able to continue working throughout treatment, work for periods in between treatments or are required to take a more extended period of absence from work. Whatever circumstance you are facing, transitioning back to work after a cancer diagnosis can be difficult to navigate alone.
The purpose of this topic is to start a conversation with your Valion Oncology Care Coordinator about your work situation. They will help you understand your treatments, how side-effects may continue to impact you after you have completed treatment (or if you are on a maintenance treatment) and what you might consider in consultation with your GP or treating team when planning to return to work during or after treatment.