Going back to work after cancer treatment can sound exhausting and difficult. It may feel like the right thing to do as going back to work helps bring back a sense of yourself and boost self-esteem and not to mention income. However, before going back to work, ensure the following are taken care of. Here are some tips which may come in handy:
- Ensure your health care provider has ‘medically’ cleared you. Once you are all set to go, make sure you have completed your treatment course. Even though the doctor has cleared you, It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle after being discharged from the hospital/cleared by the doctor. Exercising, eating healthy foods and engaging in fun activities, and taking out time for yourself every day can ensure a faster comeback. For example, in the case of breast cancer patients specifically, a breast self-exam every month even after their treatment is completed is very crucial. They should keep a regular check and report to their doctor if they observe anything unusual.
- Live as if you are back at work. This means that you must get up at the usual time, dress in work clothes, and take a drive outside. Practicing other ways that would bring you back into the routine of going to work can also help in returning to work.
- In the case of Breast Cancer patients, after their surgery (Mastectomy) they need a breast prosthesis or Prosthetic bra, and the quality of the breast prosthesis is what matters a lot in post-cancer treatment. If a patient feels uneasy while wearing the breast prosthesis it cannot only hamper their physical health but also their mental health. CANFEM provides patients with high-quality, handmade, and affordable prosthetic bra for breast cancer which can make them feel comfortable and confident. You can also read the stories of various patients and survivors connected with CANFEM and how it changed their lives for good.
- Speak to the workplace’s authorities/co-workers regarding your condition. If your doctor approves, reach out to your human resources department or your supervisor to arrange an in-person or telephone meeting. You should discuss details about the timing of your return and what your daily work schedule will be like. Creative scheduling options can help you transition successfully back to work. Hence, let your colleagues know how you are feeling and ensure you have a flexible workplace.
- Plan your return- Plan it in terms of the long-term side effects, the demands and needs of your job, and the need for follow-up care. Start slow. You may start by working at a part-time job first. It may help you recover and regain the experience of working in a workplace. It can also help to adjust to the setting of a workplace.
- Finally, Take your time. It is essential to know that there is nothing more valuable than health. Only once you feel completely healthy, you may proceed to go to work.
However, you might as well have some concerns about returning to work. Concerns like:
Worries about your performance like- Not being ready for work because of the changes in your energy levels, ability to concentrate or focus, and mood or not being able to do your job as well as before cancer. Not being able to do your job at the level that your employer (boss) or co-workers expect of you. Not knowing what to say to people about your absence (being away). Not knowing how to ask for help from the people you work with. Not knowing how to share your concerns about returning to work with your employer.
It is okay to have these concerns. Hence, following the steps mentioned above can aid in lowering your anxiety and feel more prepared. These are some of the tips you can include while contemplating returning to work.
Editor: Vidushi Agnihotri