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Returning to Work/School After Cancer Article Banner

Returning to work or school after the end of cancer treatment can be both exciting and overwhelming. While many survivors look forward to transitioning back into a life that doesn’t revolve around frequent treatments and doctors’ appointments, they may find it challenging to accept that their “normal” will not look the same as it did prior to treatment.

Potential challenges for survivors returning to work or school can include accepting their “new normal,” reconnecting with coworkers or classmates and catching up on job duties or classwork. This major transition is often physically and emotionally taxing. Here are some tips to help ease the process. 

Returning to Work

  • Be upfront with your boss (and co-workers if applicable) about any limitations you may have during the transition process. For example, some survivors may do better working part time initially and moving on to fulltime once they’ve had adequate time to adjust.

  • Ask your boss what’s expected of you during this time. Will he or she allow you to start off slow, or are you expected to jump back into all of the roles you had prior to treatment?

  • Decide how much – if any – you’d like to share with your co-workers. If you know this at the start, it will make the process easier for both you and the people you work with.

  • Connect with a Hope Cancer Resources social worker to help you accept and understand your new normal. Our team has the knowledge and resources to adequately guide you through the transition.

BoyReturning to School

  • Meet with your child’s teacher(s) and counselor(s) ahead of time to address any potential challenges your child may encounter. For example, your child may need to meet with a teacher after school for extra tutoring for the first few months upon his/her return in order to catch up on any schoolwork missed during treatment.

  • Talk with your child about the possibility of his/her classmates not understanding why he/she may be unable to participate in certain activities. The other children may also wonder why their friend has come back without his/her hair. The more you prepare your child for these potential scenarios, the better prepared and more confident he/she will be.

  • Connect with one of our social workers to learn practical methods to help ease your child’s return to school.

Readjusting to work or school can be an intimidating part of your journey, but it’s also a time for pride and celebration. You’ve fought through a significantly hard chapter in your life and have come out on the other side. Focus on how far you’ve come and, as always, contact Hope Cancer Resources if you ever need support.

 

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