Though we normally share “work & cancer” stories on our Newsfeed, this week we wanted to take a closer look at one story that has captured the headlines.
At a news conference on Monday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan disclosed his diagnosis of late stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
As we often discuss, one of the biggest challenges employees with cancer face is sharing their diagnosis with employers and co-workers. Initially, Hogan shared the news with only some of his senior staff. Next he told close family members and friends; then ultimately decided to hold a press conference to share the news with constituents before it leaked out. He told his cabinet members just before the news conference.
Cancer hasn’t stopped Hogan from planning to continue his work. According to The Washington Post, Hogan “joked that...he’s such a workaholic that even if he is at his desk only part-time in the coming months, he will still be working harder than most governors.”
According to the Maryland Constitution, the lieutenant governor is allowed to serve as acting governor with written notification from the governor when he is temporarily unable to perform office duties. Hogan said that he will rely on Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford to fill in for him on decisions when necessary while he is out for treatment.
Kevin Cullen, director of the University of Maryland Marlene and Steward Greenebaum Cancer Center, encourages people “to maintain as normal a routine as possible when they’re being treated...it’s important for people to maintain a positive psychological outlook. People who derive pleasure and mental stimulation from working, we encourage them to do it.”
In fact, according to a Cancer and Careers study with Harris Interactive, 79% of cancer patients and survivors feel that cancer recovery is aided by the routine nature of work.
As an elected public official, Gov. Hogan will likely face some different challenges than most as he works through treatment. However, this is an interesting case study of how, why, when and to whom he disclosed his diagnosis; what his plan is for working while going through chemotherapy; and how the laws/policies for his unique position ensure that a point-person/acting governor will oversee things, if necessary, if Hogan is unable to work or make decisions.
When working through treatment, we recommend you consider your unique situation and ask yourself the following: Do you want to share your diagnosis? If so, with whom? What policies does your employer have in place if you need to take time off? How might the law protect you/your job? Is there someone you can ask to be a point-person for you, if needed, while you undergo treatment?
For additional resources and tips on how to balance cancer treatment and employment — including how to create an action plan and how to manage side effects while on the job — visit the At Work section of our website.
You can also read more about Gov. Hogan’s announcement on our Newsfeed, here.