If you choose to reveal your diagnosis to your employer, you will want to gather all the information you can beforehand in order to create an action plan. Having a plan can help restore your sense of control and leave you with more mental energy to cope with the rest of the process. But, as we all know, things change — so it’s important to keep your plan flexible and reiterate this when discussing with your employer.
Before you approach your employer or colleagues, you’ll want to speak with your medical team about the ways in which your diagnosis might affect your job. For example, discuss things such as the timeline for your treatment; possible side effects you might experience; how, specifically, they might impact your ability to do your work; and how to manage side effects while on the job. This way you’ll feel informed and prepared when presenting the situation to your employer.
A great resource for these medical conversations are Cancer and Careers’ lists of questions to ask your healthcare team, which include questions on work & cancer and the various treatments you might undergo. Having a sheet with questions and space to jot down notes during meetings with your care providers will make it easier for you to recall what you talked about and then pass along the information to your manager or HR department.
You will also want to consult your employee handbook before speaking with your boss, so you’re aware of the sick-leave and disability policies your company has in place and you understand what rights you are entitled to. Our Manager’s Kit is designed for you to give to your boss to help facilitate the conversation, and contains information on the need-to-know laws. Click here to download.