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In Treatment For Cancer

Work issues: If you are an employee, ask for the accommodations which make it possible to juggle treatment and work. If you need time off, negotiate for it. People who are business owners or are self employed should avoid making important decisions if pos

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Whether you can continue work and do other activities depends on your treatment and how it affects you. For some treatments, you may need to stay in a hospital for a week or more, but most people are able to keep working during treatment. 

For chemotherapy or radiation, you might be able to schedule your treatments late in the day or right before the weekend so that they interfere with work as little as possible. If there is flexibility, surgery can be scheduled during a slow period.

You may be able to work from home or arrange a part-time schedule. (These kinds of changes at work to allow you to do your work are known as "accommodations.") Federal laws such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, and similar state laws, require employers to provide people with a "disability" an accommodation. 

To arrange an accommodation or for time off, you will need to negotiate with your employer. Part of the discussion will be a disclosure of your condition. It is preferable to with a supervisor in human resources. Remind him or her that you expect this information to remain confidential as required by law -- at least until you have a chance to decide who you want to tell and when.

Keep in mind that what you tell co-workers is not confidential information.

If you haven't already, look for an advisor at work who has been with the company long enough to know the way people with your diagnosis are treated. She or he can help guide you through the potential minefield. An advisor should be someone you trust not to disclose what you talk about.

If you need a change at work because of your health condition or treatment to enable you to do your job, read the Survivorship A to Z article on accommodations to learn how to get one.

Start keeping track of anything that may indicate that you are being discriminated against because of your health condition. Include all positive comments you receive. (To learn more, see our information on the Americans With Disabilities Act).

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