Be the Boss Over Cancer

After 18 years of working for my company they have decided to layoff our entire department which will effect 152 people. So, now I will be force to look for another job. I was diagnosis with breast and thyroid cancer 2009 and started treatment 2010. I went through the whole treatment of chemo, mastectomy and radiation and a thyroidectomy then treatment of the radiative 131. Since then all my scans are good, I even had my port taken out on April 13, 2012. One of my doctor's warned me about possible repercussions of my health situation with getting a new job. During an interview how much if any do I need to disclose about my health? Or if I get the job went do I disclose or do I have to disclose for insurance? During all the time I was going through treatment I was working full time. I just used fmla during my treatment periods.  I was blessed that I didn't get super sick during the treatment phase.  


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  • Alice McKenney

    Alice McKenney on May 21, 2012

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi  Joy,

    Thanks for reaching out.  Deciding whether or not to disclose your cancer is an intimate personal decision.  However it seems as if you want to know if you have to disclose, not how to do it if you were to decide to do so (if I am wrong please let me know and of course we can help!).

    This question really comes down to the law.  Below are a few organizations who I highly recommend checking out/contacting to find out legally what you should consider. In general, if you will need no accommodations at your new job, and will be able to fulfill every duty as written, including number of hours per week, physical requirements, etc. you likely do not need to disclose your diagnosis (and if you were to do so, we recommend waiting until you receive a job offer, not doing it in the actual interview).  However there are exceptions to everything, so I urge you to speak with a lawyer using one of the below services.  You might also want to check out our legal and financial info, specifically the info on the ADA (all of this can be found here:  

    • Cancer Legal Resource Center. 866-843-2572.  This is a great free resource to call or email to get personalized info.  National organization.
    • National Cancer Legal Services Network.  This comprehensive website has a service directory so that you can find legal assistance near you locally.

    If you have any additional questions please let us know!


  • Joy C.

    Joy C. on May 22, 2012

    Thanks Alice. I will check into your information.

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