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Colorectal Cancer: Newly Diagnosed: At Work (Stages 2, 3, 4)

Impact of Colorectal Cancer On The Workplace

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In the short term, work is likely to be affected by your treatment and/or condition, at least to accommodate the amount of time you need to take off for doctor appointments, tests and treatment. You may also need time off if you become fatigued.

If you will undergo major surgery, there will definitely be time off.

If you are going to have chemotherapy, many people fit treatment into their regular work schedule by scheduling chemotherapy for a Friday afternoon so they have the weekend to recover. Others need the time for their bodies and minds to rest.

If you are going to have radiation, it is generally possible to fit treatment into a regular work schedule by having the appointments before going to work, during lunch or after work. Fatigue is the biggest side effect. For some people, the disruption to their work lives was so minimal that no one at work even knew they went through radiation treatment. Others need time off.

Explain to your cancer doctor what you do at work, including what you do on a daily basis. Ask:

  • Will I be able to work throughout my treatment?

  • If I have to stay home to recover from surgery or other treatment, how long will I be away from my job?

  • When I return to work:

    • Will any of my abilities to perform my job be impaired as a result of treatment?

    • Do I need to have a different work schedule?

    • How will I know if I am overdoing it at my job?

  • What can help minimize the effect on work?

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