Practical Matters

Things that may have once felt under control — like going to school or work, or managing your budget — can be thrown into disarray by a cancer diagnosis, and it is normal to feel disoriented and to have questions.

Managing Cancer and Career

Whether you’re in school, starting a new job, or already established in your career, the emotional stress of a cancer diagnosis and the side effects of your treatment are going to make juggling your responsibilities more difficult.

How can I manage cancer if I'm currently working?

Adjusting to life with cancer while maintaining the steadiness of a job can be demanding.
Some common career related fears:

  • Underperformance due to fatigue/inability to concentrate
  • Losing your job because of your cancer
  • Inability to pursue other opportunities because of fear of losing health insurance
  • Fear of not finding a job after your treatment

All of these fears are legitimate and common. Remember – it is your choice when and how to discuss your diagnosis with your boss or Human Resources Department. This can be a nerve-racking decision. Who do I tell? When will I tell them? How will this impact my job performance? First things first: it is against the law to fire someone because of a cancer diagnosis. In fact, your employer may be obligated to make certain accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should you need them.

What can I do if I'm still in school and am diagnosed with cancer?

So you’ve determined your treatment plan with your health care team, but how does that fit with your other responsibilities like coursework and exams? Treatment can take a physical and mental toll on you. You may find a decreased ability to concentrate during treatment, feelings of sadness or fatigue, and pain or nausea during treatment cycles. This will likely impact your performance in school. Schedule a time to meet with an advisor or trusted instructor to talk about your overall goals in school and your goals during treatment. Work with him/her to devise a plan where you can meet these goals and still make your cancer treatment a priority. Keep in mind this may mean taking some time off or reducing your course load.

Insurance and Benefits

Understanding the complexities of health insurance can be overwhelming in the best of times. When managing treatment, preventive care, or other challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis, it can feel even more stressful. Read on for help with navigating health insurance, so you can focus on getting the best care.

Financial Assistance

It’s no secret that dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be extraordinarily expensive — and no one should have to sacrifice getting the best care due to financial struggles. There are several organizations dedicated to helping cancer patients and survivors afford the costs of treatment, travel, everyday expenses and more.

View a list of organizations that can help with a wide range of programs and services.