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Breast Cancer: Post Treatment: 6 Months Plus: At Work


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The longer the time since the end of treatment, the less effect your breast cancer or treatment is likely to have at work. Indications are that breast cancer does not affect a woman’s career long term.

To supervisors and co-workers, like friends, treatment that ended more than six months ago is ancient history. To them, after effects should be long gone.

If you have physical and/or emotional effects that affect your work, educate them about what it is like for you. (Keep in mind that what you tell an employer about your health has to be kept confidential. This is not the case with co-workers).

If you need an accommodation to help you do your job, you may be legally entitled to one. Even if you aren’t protected by the law, the way to get an accommodation is through negotiation. See: How To Request  And Negotiate An Accommodation At Work

Take whatever steps are necessary to continue your health insurance. Also start preparing in case you eventually need to leave work. It won't take that much time now and will be invaluable "if". 

If your life objectives have changed, or if you want to earn more money, consider changing jobs or even careers. You do not have to tell a new employer about your breast cancer history. A new employer cannot ask. Your current health insurance can count as a credit against any waiting period a new employer imposes on new hires for preexisting conditions. You may even want to become self employed or start your own business. What could happen in the future is not a reason to prevent you from pursuing your dream.

"Just in case":

  • Keep track of facts that could have any bearing on a discrimination claim in case something happens in the future that makes you think you are being discriminated against because of your health condition. Discrimination is hard to prove. Just because you did not get a raise or a job promotion does not necessarily mean that you were discriminated against. It helps to have a record of things as they happen. This includes good things people say about you as well as statements or actions that could be interpreted as discriminatory.
  • Think ahead in case there is a recurrence or something else happens. For instance:
    • Accept credit card offers sent to you because you are employed.  You may need credit to pay for medical or other expenses. Credit life insurance will increase the value of your estate. You don't have to use the cards except as necessary to keep them active.
    • Tell your doctor how after effects from your treatment or any aspect of your health affects your work. Ask that this information be noted in your medical record. (It will come in handy if you ever want to stop work and go onto disability). 
    • Start planning at work in case you eventually have to leave work to go on disability. It doesn't take a lot of time - and will be invaluable "if".

AND:  If you have become the “go to” person when a co-worker or a friend of a co-worker has any type of cancer, let them know what your limits are.

For more information, see:


  • This article includes basic information about work. For additional information about work of interest when there is a history of breast cancer, see: Work: At Work.
  • If your breast cancer left you unable to work, see: On Disability.
  • If you are a small business owner with 1 or more employees, click here.
  • If you are self employed, click here.

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