Balancing Cancer and Your Job

Once, getting a cancer diagnosis meant giving up your job for a new one: surviving. Today, thanks to treatment advances, many people keep working during treatment.
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Cancer in the Workplace

Each year, 650,000 people who work outside the home learn they have cancer. Along with the shattering diagnosis comes another challenge: What will I do about work? A recent University of Pennsylvania study reported that about 60 percent of people diagnosed with cancer continue working.

Most of us have no choice, of course: We need the health insurance and the regular income. But there's another reason: The prognosis for cancer patients is better than ever: 66 percent are alive at least five years after their diagnosis and are hardly ready to retire.

Given this, it's nice to think our employer would be there for us if we got sick, especially since we're not the only ones who would benefit. Cancer and Careers, a program of Cosmetic Executive Women, Inc., a New York City-based trade organization, maintains that helping employees with cancer builds company loyalty and helps a business keep talented employees. But even the most evolved company may not always grasp exactly what an employee needs or is entitled to. She will still have to negotiate hurdles that require a basic knowledge of her employer's policies as well as national and state laws on sick leave. If you have recently been diagnosed, these strategies will help you strike a balance between handling your cancer and your job.

Continued on page 2:  Do Your Homework


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