Changing the conversation about work and cancer

The typical ‘journey’ back to work – how it works

I really hate that word ‘journey’ when people talk about cancer. When I say it, I do that curled fingers in the air quote mark sign that tries to make it clear it is a cliché which I don’t really want to use but must because the English language doesn’t appear to offer a better alternative.

So, with apologies, I think there are two ‘journeys’ that we make, in managing work and cancer: the one we make physically and the one we make in our head, and it’s important that we understand both because they interact with and affect each other significantly.

Although there are over 200 cancers and many forms of treatment for each form of cancer, many of us go through a four-stage ‘journey’ where we are confronted by similar challenges connected with our work. In my experience, a major factor in successfully managing these challenges is to have a formal conversation at each of these stages with your line manager and HR: at the point of diagnosis, during active treatment, just before returning to work and in the first 12 months (at least) after returning to work.

Over the next four weeks we’ll be addressing each of the stages in turn. Focusing on the challenges that you may face and how your employer can support you.

Download the full article here

Written by Barbara Wilson, Founder, Working With Cancer