Cancer Education Center

Welcome to the Slaggie Family Cancer Education Center page. Our goal is to empower patients and their supporters to become active partners in their health care by providing relevant information, increasing knowledge and learning from one another’s experiences. Follow the Cancer Education Center page and stay up-to-date as we post accurate and timely cancer-related information on topics such as cancer prevention, risks, treatments, clinical trials, end-of-life care, and survivorship. No matter where you are in your journey, we are here to help.

Tue, Jul 2 3:51pm

Cancer. Work. Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that…

By Lonnie J. Fynskov, R.N., @lonniefynskov


For many people when they first hear a diagnosis of cancer for themselves or a loved one, work accommodations are not among the first thoughts that enter their mind. Usually our mind will race through a variety of concerns such as:

  • Am I going to survive?
  • What do I tell the kids?
  • How hard will it be to tolerate the treatment?
  • How expensive is this going to be for our family?

Once the reality of treatment starts, however, some of those work-related questions may start surfacing:

  • How much do I need to share with my employer about my cancer diagnosis?
  • Is my job status secure?
  • What happens if I just can’t put in the hours and energy that are needed for the job?
  • Is there any one I can talk to confidentially about my concerns?

Thankfully, the American Disability Act provides significant support for employees with a serious diagnosis. Employers are required by law to provide reasonable work accommodations for any employee with a disability and, yes, impairments caused by cancer or its treatment would be included in that category.

For example, accommodations could include changing the number of hours worked or adapting your weekly schedule. Or another example may be making adjustments to the work space such as furniture changes, parking locations or office technology to make it more comfortable or possible to continue working during and after treatment.

There are a variety of reasons someone may continue working during their cancer treatment. Perhaps work brings a sense of normalcy to life during a time that feels very unsettled. Or work colleagues may provide a wonderful emotional support system to help deal with the challenges of treatment. Maybe it is a financially-based decision. All of these reasons, and others, are valid.

Talking with your healthcare provider is a good way to get a realistic idea of what challenges treatment may bring to your day-to-day activities. If you want specific information related to cancer and employment, and also provide a wealth of information. Perhaps you have already navigated the world of work and treatment. Were there conversations or factors that helped you decide how best to handle that situation? What worked for you? Please share your wisdom with the group.

This was something I faced when it was time to start chemo. I am a therapist in an outpatient clinic in St. Paul. My treatments are weekly in Rochester. The only way I could make 40hours work was to request four tens and have treatment on Fridays. Thus gives me the weekend if there are side effects. Which there were aplenty until the dosage was adjusted a couple times. My employer has been accommodating.

The downside of this is that my life has reduced to being work and treatment. As I said in my initial post to the Kidney group, I am isolated with noone to talk with about any concerns or feelings. It is ironic that therapists encourage self care and talking to others but there is a culture for us to pull up your big girl pants and keep going. I have been looking for some kind of support group but they are few and far between.


I, too, have been juggling work and treatments, with no room (or energy) for other activities, meetings, or support groups. This Monday is my last weekly doctor visit/treatment, and should be revealed the lab results we have prayed for.

Liked by sue1952


Heather, I hope you get great news. Let me know if you would like support. Sue

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