There are many ways that the employer and others at the workplace can help employees return to or stay at work after a cancer diagnosis. First, it is important to provide a supportive environment for the employee. This may include creating a trusting environment where the employee can discuss challenges openly with their employer, maintaining contact if taking leave during treatment is needed, offering to explore needs to inform a workplace accommodation, and implementing accommodations the employee needs to work safely and productively. Second, employers and others in the workplace can help the employee’s healthcare team assess their work ability by providing a detailed description of the employee’s job demands. Third, the employer, employee and their healthcare team can collaborate to develop a return to work plan and then monitor and modify it as needed once the employee is back at work.
Supporting cancer survivors to stay at or return to work involves several steps. Some of these steps may come before others, but they do not always occur in the same order.