Your patient is not alone. Cancer and its treatment lead many people to doubt whether they should return to work, or simply retire. Having to make this decision is especially true for those whose abilities have been altered to the point that they can no longer work at their previous level without hardship, and even more so for those who experience difficulty in looking after their basic needs.
But it may be that even if they feel capable of returning to work at their highest level, they may not want to. The experience of cancer may have changed their priorities, their sense of what is important and how they should spend the rest of their life. A change of priority can particularly be the case if they are close to retirement age.
If you and your patient are discussing retirement, you may want to read our article Should I retire? If your patient asks, “Are my symptoms or the side effects of cancer treatment likely to diminish with time?”, reading this article may help the patient with their decision making. The article encourages thinking about questions such as:
- Can the patient change the parts of their job that they do not like or do more of what they like?
- Would part time suit them?
- Will changes in priorities last?
- What do they want to do after retirement?
- Can they afford to retire?