A Cancer Survivors Journey of Returning to Work

By | February 17, 2021
A Cancer Survivors Journey of Returning to Work

The journey of returning to work after surviving cancer is a bit difficult but not impossible. It may be hard to cope up physically and mentally after surviving cancer as a lot of changes before and after cancer takes place.

If a person can fight a debilitating disease like cancer then they can very well establish themselves back to work. A lot of adjustments and an active approach can aid in returning to work.

Generally, people understand a cancer survivor’s hardship to cope with returning to work. The person already has gone through a life-altering situation after the diagnosis of cancer.

They need to remain strong to cope with their physical disabilities. The challenge of the cancer survivor differs in each and every case as it depends on their treatment-induced physical impairments.

Steps to be taken before returning to work

The planning of returning to work needs to consider many aspects. The person may have some physical issues such as fatigue, impaired cognitive functioning, weakness, loss of confidence, etc. The person may also have the fear of cancer recurrence.

But by leading a disciplined and healthy life many of the issues can be subsided. A positive approach towards life can help in dealing with the situation. The decision to start working in itself is a big step and will need some extra planning to combat the physical issues.

To start working will give life a new purpose beyond cancer. The doctor will be the right person to guide the cancer survivor on how to tackle the physical issues that may arise during work.

Before starting work a discussion with the human resources department is needed to discuss the working schedule and the constraints of a cancer survivor.

The person will slowly be able to take up the challenges with proper planning and accomplish their working challenges efficiently.

Returning to work is not always possible for every cancer survivor. The decision can only be taken after considering the physical, emotional, and mental state of the cancer survivor.

The decision can only be taken after the doctor approves and returning to work will entirely depend on many aspects.

  • The amount of physical and mental stress the job demands.
  • The timing and the responsibility the job demands.
  • The environment of the office and the level of support the company can provide.

An employer’s responsibility towards their cancer surviving employee 

Many companies are very supportive of their employees returning after cancer recovery. They have certain policies for them and provide them certain relaxation in their job.

The human resources department may consider few aspects before they allow their cancer surviving employee to start working.

  • Initially, a part-time job is provided considering their physical and mental state.
  • The flexibility in timing to go for regular medical check-ups.
  • Assigning a job that suits the employee’s abilities.
  • The Medical leave policy.
  • Job sharing till the person is able to handle the job independently and efficiently.
  • Breaks in between the job to carry out the work properly as the person may feel weak and need to take some rest.

It may be tough to handle the work initially but slowly the person will be able to adapt to the situation and will be able to handle the work successfully. When the person starts feeling better they can very well take up a full-time job and can carry out their work efficiently with few changes.

It would be better for the person to put alarms or note to remember important tasks or meetings as they may have some issues with memory. Before starting work they must discuss all these issues with their boss or with their HR department.

A small break from work may be set for taking medications, to overcome the fatigue, or for consulting the doctor.

Proper planning and initiative to lead a normal life will help the cancer survivor to carry on with their job even though it may have many hurdles. The cancer survivor can have a social life after they start working.

By remaining busy at work can fill the void that may have got created in the life of the cancer survivor during their treatment. It is not that easy to take up the decision to return to work.

The cancer treatment may cause a long-term impact on the life of the cancer survivor and the side-effects will slowly diminish.

The disease may cause physical, emotional, and mental stress but with a positive attitude, all of it can be handled. It is important for the cancer survivor to start working in a safe and supportive workplace.

Even the role of the employer is huge as they need to protect the health and well-being of their employees. Considering the health issue of the employee a risk-free job may be considered for the cancer survivor.

The physical restrictions of the cancer survivor just after completing their treatment may have a larger impact on their physical and mental health.

The company needs to consider an appropriate working environment that can support their working constraints.

Note : A cancer survivor’s journey of returning to work is a big decision and needs a lot of planning to make it possible. The treatment may have some side-effects which can be well-managed by considering the advice of the doctor. A cancer survivor has to struggle initially to adjust and to cope with the challenges they come across during work.

It is good for them to return to work as they can divert their mind to work and think beyond cancer. They can regain their lost confidence by starting work which is not only good for them but also their family.

The support and adjustment made by the employer help the cancer survivor to cope with their work. The life of a cancer survivor becomes meaningful after they start working and gives them hope that cancer is not the end of the world.

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