Getting back to the workplace post-cancer treatment is known to be good for cancer survivors, as they establish a normal routine again, but with that said, there are many factors to keep in mind that might make the transition more difficult than it seems, reports HRZone. Besides the likeliness of decreased physical stamina and increased fatigue, many cancer survivors experience intense emotional effects, such as depression.
According to research conducted by Macmillan Cancer Support, 85% of people recovering from cancer have expressed a need or desire to get back to the workplace. 60% shared they wanted to get back to “normal life”, while 54% said they needed the money. While getting back to work seems to be a good way to transition from this traumatic life experience, there are several things employees and employers should keep in mind to ensure these survivors are receiving the support they need. Not only are they going back to work, but most likely they will have continued tests and follow-up appointments to manage on top of normal life responsibilities. It’s a lot to handle.
Jamie, a man who received treatment for his testicular cancer, shared his experience transitioning back into work. While everyone treated him well, making him laugh and supporting him, he still lived with so much anxiety, always worrying about receiving a dreaded letter in the mail stating his cancer came back. While that never happened, he lived with that stress for 3-years.
Jamie had to keep attending appointments and undergoing tests for 10-years post recovery. Having no choice but to make that priority, he lost close friends in the process. Not only that, but when he finally received the amazing words that he was indeed “free” of cancer with no signs of it ever returning (which meant he no longer had to go through regular tests), he actually felt more lonely than ever.
As time progresses, Jamie expressed he does feel better, but there will always remain a pain when March comes around, the time of his first diagnosis.
It’s important to make sure those recovering from cancer treatment are receiving the support they need, both in the workplace and outside of it. It all starts with good communication to make sure those needs are met.