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Alice McKenney on April 29, 2010
For most cancer patients, the first question they have is "Will I live?" And for many their second question is "Can I work?" As aptly pointed out in a recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, "the stress of the disease doesn’t necessarily end with the chemotherapy… Former cancer patients are often expected to bounce back into their old routines as if normalcy returns as readily as a head of hair. But it’s more complicated than that."
Work can play a huge role in this return to normalcy both when a person works during treatment or upon his/her return after a leave of absence, but it can certainly come with its fair share of challenges. One of the most common ones we hear about is managing residual side effects like "chemo brain" and exhaustion while still being a valued member of a work team. And, the other major challenge for some survivors is discovering that their priorities have changed since cancer and they are looking for new personal and professional directions.
The article also discusses the importance of outside support, particularly support groups. For assistance in finding a support group check out these listings in our database: http://www.cancerandcareers.org/resources/categories/support-services
Also if you live near New York City, Cancer and Careers hosts our own support group - for more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.