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Newly Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer: Seeking Work


Being newly diagnosed with prostate cancer while seeking work adds a traumatic event to an already stressful endeavor.

You may be tempted to speed up medical decisions such as which doctor(s) and which treatments. Both of these decisions are important to your long term health and should not be rushed.

Also, since there is no standard treatment for prostate cancer, it is generally advisable to get a second opinion from another cancer specialist.  (See “To Learn More” for information about second opinions – including how to get a timely appointment.) Consider asking a close family member or friend to help you with these decisions. 

If you will undergo surgery, consider at least getting the surgery out of the way before continuing the job search. With surgery, you will likely need full days recuperating while physically not up to par. Your mental ability may be cloudy because of the anesthesia and pain medications. Other treatments can generally be done while working.

With respect to the job you are seeking, keep the following in mind.

  • Consider your health insurance situation.
    • If you have health insurance: Do not do anything that would affect your health insurance coverage for your existing condition. Thanks to a federal law known as HIPAA, if there is no gap in coverage greater than 62 days, the amount of time you had coverage is credited against a new waiting period. If you had your insurance long enough, there is no waiting period.
    • If you do not have health insurance: One of the options to get coverage is to look for an employer with health insurance without any, or with only a short, pre-existing condition waiting period.
    • For additional information about obtaining health insurance, click here.
  • Physically, the only question about work is whether you can do the work now. What may happen to you in the future is not relevant.
  • A prospective employer cannot ask about your health condition thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act and similar laws. 
  • Experts counsel against telling about your health condition until you are offered a job.  Whether to tell after accepting the job is up to you. 
  • You may have to disclose your health condition if you will need an accommodation at work to allow you to take treatments.

For additional information about the above subjects, including how to act during the job interview, see the documents in "To Learn More."

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