Georgia's Online Cancer Information Center

Managing Work & Employment

In addition to the many physical and emotional changes cancer survivors experience, it is also common to encounter economic and employment challenges. Fortunately, there are resources out there to assist cancer survivors with this complex aspect of their survivorship journey.

Economic Concerns

Rarely can a cancer survivor escape the economic challenges that occur as a result of surviving cancer. Variable health insurance coverage and the inability to maintain full-time employment often complicate this already difficult aspect of cancer survivorship. Organizations like the American Cancer Society and the National Endowment for Financial Education have developed resources specific to the needs of cancer survivors. For example, the document entitled Advanced Illness: Financial Guidance for Cancer Survivors and their Families addresses the innumerable financial concerns experienced by cancer survivors throughout their journey.    

Employment Concerns

The employment concerns of cancer survivors have changed significantly over the past generation due to more effective treatment and longer life expectancy. Legal progress has also improved the lives of cancer survivors by expanding rights and protections in the workplace. The LIVESTRONG Foundation provides extensive information on all aspects of employment during cancer survivorship, including specific ways to talk to your employer and information on your legal rights.   

Despite the persistent improvement in legal protections for cancer survivors, many individuals still face challenges in the workplace. It is important to know your rights as a cancer survivor here in Georgia. Use this guide from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship to find extensive information and resources on employment rights and protections. For legal assistance on issues related to cancer survivorship in Georgia, contact the Atlanta Legal Aid Society or the Georgia Legal Services Program.

Download National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) "Working It Out Your Employment Rights as a Cancer Survivor" document.

Returning to Work

The return to work is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Before returning to work, speak to your doctor to ensure that you're well enough then plan a meeting with your manager to plan the transition back. Below are a few strategies for navigating the transition back to work.

  • Evaluate if you are ready to return even if you are medically cleared to do so. You may not be in the correct mental space to return to work just yet.
  • Determine if you'll need reasonable accommodations at work and communicate your needs to HR, a vocational counselor or your leader. Some examples of reasonable accommodations are:
    • Providing or modifying equipment or devices
    • Restructuring a job
    • Offering part-time or modified work schedules, such as permission to work from home if possible.
    • Reassigning an employee to a vacant position or assigning the employee different tasks if the employee is no longer able to perform his or her current job.
    • Adjusting or modifying tests, training materials, or policies
    • Making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities
  • Determine if you would like flexible or creative scheduling options and see if this may be permissible. This may not be possible in all workplaces.
  • Know your employment rights by being familiar with the literature regarding employment laws and cancer. Working It Out by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship is a great resource.


Last Updated: 10/30/2020 2:41:47 PM

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