Be the Boss Over Cancer

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Having a plan can help restore your sense of control and leave you with more energy to cope with the rest of the process. But keep it flexible, because things will change. Start by making a list of everything you need to do -- breaking it up into small parts can make things less daunting -- and then prioritizing. And don't forget the cardinal rule of management: Delegate whenever possible.

Know the Facts About Your Diagnosis and Treatment

Before you approach colleagues, talk to your doctor specifically about the ways that your illness can affect your career. Here are a few helpful tips to smooth the process:

  • Tell your doctor exactly what your job entails and any unique circumstances you'll be coping with.
  • If work is a priority, let your doctor know that it's important for you to make decisions that will benefit your health and your job whenever possible.
  • Ask for general ideas about the ways that your diagnosis, medication or treatment could affect your job performance.
  • Find out specific details about all of your medications and treatments, including common side effects. How can you manage side effects like nausea or vomiting, which make it difficult to work? Can you take your medicines or go for treatments early or late in the day, so the side effects won't interfere with the bulk of your workday? Will your side effects become more or less intense after a few weeks, which could affect your ability to concentrate on work as time passes?
  • Ask about treatments that might make it easier to continue working, including oral chemotherapies or treatments in clinical trials.