Be the Boss Over Cancer

I am hoping someone can assist me. After almost two years of being ill with endometrial cancer, I have finally been diagnosed as cancer-free, for which I am really grateful. I now want to get back to work as I was a working professional woman before this catastrophe struck. I am looking to find a position that is part-time (as I still have limited stamina) and wondered what the best way to go about it is. Also, should I disclose my illness to my employer? I prefer to be honest, but am also aware that legally I do not have to share my medical condition with anyone other than my doctors. Has anyone else been through this situation that could be of assistance? I am single and only 54, so retirement is not an option. Thanks in advance. Diana


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  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on Dec 22, 2010

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Diana,

    Congratulations on being cancer free!

    You don't mention the type of work that you did prior to your cancer diagnosis. Are there actually part-time roles in your industry? If you were to telecommute full or part-time, would this be less stressful for you? Also, is it your goal to eventually go back to work full-time eventually once your energy is back?

    The easiest approach for you is to state to a prospective employer that you want to work part-time or even job share with someone because you have recovered from illness and it's true that you don't have to disclose anything specific. Many cancer survivors choose not to disclose that they had or even still have cancer for fear of prejudice which certainly does exist. Bottom line you have to do what feels right for you. One thing I would never disclose is that your stamina isn't what it could be. There are plenty of part-time jobs and jobs with flexible hours. You may be surprised by the results you will get if you just focus on finding this kind of work situation. Whether you choose to disclose your situation or not, the less said the better.

    Finally, your chances of finding work are higher if you try to network face-to-face and on LinkedIn.

    Good luck!


  • Alice McKenney

    Alice McKenney on Dec 22, 2010

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Diana,

    I have sent your question along to one of our career coaches, so you should get a response soon. In the mean time in terms of your question regarding disclosure, it is a personal decision and depends on your relationship with your supervisor/coworkers, as well as your workplace politics. You can find more advice on sharing your cancer in the workplace here:



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