AFTER CANCER: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF TELLING CANCER DIAGNOSIS AT WORK

Should I Tell a Prospective Employer about My Cancer History?

Whether or not you tell a prospective employer will depend on

• whether secondary effects of your cancer or its treatment might interfere with your job performance

• whether the type of relationship you expect to have with your boss would be hampered by withholding information about your cancer history or enhanced by sharing the information

What Are the Advantages of Telling My Boss or Co-workers about My Cancer?

Sharing your cancer history can be beneficial for many reasons. If you have some residual changes that are obvious, such as visible healing scars, the need to void very often, or a chronic cough, there will be no misunderstanding about why you look or act the way you do. You will not have to put up quite as convincing a front on difficult days. It can be stressful to try to hide the fact of your cancer history and to try to figure out how someone else might deal with it if he or she found out. You will not have to create excuses or explanations when you need to make schedule changes for tests and checkups.

Another benefit of informing your co-workers and boss about your cancer is that you may find an important support system at work.

What Are the Disadvantages of Sharing Your Diagnosis at Work?

There may be significant disadvantages to sharing your diagnosis at work. For example,

• you may have to deal with others’ concerns, fears, or prejudices about your situation (“Any sign of recurrence?”)

• people’s genuine concern may remind you about your cancer on days when you would have forgotten about it (“How are you doing? When is your next checkup?”)

• you may be disappointed by some people’s discomfort with your situation or by their lack of concern or sympathy when you need it.

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