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Work can be a source of income, health insurance, disability income and other important benefits. It can also help reduce the stress of a diagnosis, treatment and survivorship and make you feel normal.
A diagnosis by itself should not present a problem at work or even keep you from changing jobs. There are laws to protect against discrimination in hiring and firing, and laws that require you be given a reasonable accommodation if necessary to help you do your job. There are even laws that require that you be given time off and that benefits be continued during the time off - though the is usually without pay.
To determine whether you should try to continue to work, consider the following:
- If you are considering treatment, how will it affect work? Your schedule? (Ask your treatment team)
- What are the physical and mental demands of the job?
- How flexible is the work environment?
- Can changes be made to accommodate your needs?
- What are your financial concerns?
- How is your identity tied to work?
- Have your work priorities changed?
It can be useful to use a diagnosis as an action alert to:
- Examine the relationship between work and personal time.
- Think about how to maximize your income, benefits -- and job satisfaction.
- Prepare in case you ultimately want or need to stop work because of your health condition.
If you own your own business, or are self employed, or are considering starting your own business or becoming self employed, your health condition raises questions that are better to address sooner rather than later. The questions are covered in the other sections of this article.