Talking about lung cancer can be difficult, and sharing this information in the workplace is a personal decision. It may impact some of your relationships with colleagues or affect how much you’ll continue to work. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous to talk about it, but here are some tips that may help strengthen the conversation and your work plan moving forward.
Plan the Conversation
If you decide to share your cancer diagnosis with people at work, spend some time thinking through who you want to talk to and what you want to say. This information may be best coming from you, if you feel comfortable sharing the news. Try writing down a list of people who you want to talk to personally. You may find that writing a letter or an e-mail is the best approach for you. Your supervisor and a member of your human resources department are people who will most likely need to know this information in order to help plan any adjustments you may want to make to your schedule or workload.
Expect Various Reactions
The people you talk to may respond in a range of different ways. Some people could ask questions or offer advice. Others may react in an emotional way that you may not expect, so it could be helpful to try to mentally prepare for how you’ll feel if this happens.
Be Open to Receiving Offers to Help
Being honest about your needs can help you receive support and resources for working through cancer treatment. Colleagues may offer to take on additional responsibilities to help lighten your workload during and after treatments. It’s okay to ask for and accept help to ensure you’re doing what’s best for yourself, both physically and mentally.
Taking Time Off From Work or Retiring Early
Whether you continue to work or retire early depends on multiple factors, including the type of treatment you’re getting, your overall health, financial responsibilities, and the kind of work you do. Set expectations for yourself and others in terms of taking time off for treatments and recovery.
If possible, it may be helpful to plan treatments in the evenings or before a weekend to allow your body time to recover. If you need to take extra time to rest, consider options like working from home, utilizing sick or vacation days, and finding additional coverage for your workload, if your workplace offers these options.