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Eva LaManna on August 9, 2012
One of the bigger challenges those with cancer face is choosing who to share their diagnosis with. This can be especially complicated when it comes to co-workers and employers. Whether or not to tell, and what to tell, is an extremely personal decision, and different for everybody. Depending on your diagnosis, treatment and side effects, office environment, and structure of your company (just to name a few), there are several factors that employees with cancer must weigh in this process.
The Huffington Post recently published an article entitled For Serious Illness, Some Choose To Tell -- Or Not To Tell, that delves into the various disclosure decisions that survivors have made at work and at home with mixed results. One employee was completely honest with everybody she worked with, hoping that "maybe [being honest about her diagnosis] can help somebody else." However, many others decide not to tell their co-workers because they don't want to think of themselves as a "cancer patients" or be treated any differently. This can come at a cost, however, as one survivor interviewed who chose not to disclose at work described keeping the information private as "[I]n a lot of ways, a bigger burden than the disease." To read the entire article, click here, and to check out a variety of CAC resources on sharing your diagnosis, please read here.
While disclosure at work can obviously feel very emotional and personal, there are some instances where it is necessary. For instance, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, in order to request certain accommodations at work during or after your treatment in order to make your work environment more comfortable, you must disclose your medical condition. For more information on the ADA and reasonable accommodations, please check out our legal and financial section.