Cancer & Work
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6. Encourage survivors to take control of their rehabilitation

Step 6 of 11 in getting ready to return to work:


Most of the time, survivors want to do everything in their power to restore their abilities and enhance their quality of life. However, they may not always know about resources that can help them prepare to return to work. In some cases, when they are on disability leave, survivors may feel that insurance company case managers are pressuring them to get back to work. Survivors may not realize that, if they actively access assistance to improve their work abilities, case managers may feel reassured that survivors are moving forward and may be less likely to pressure them. In fact, empowered cancer survivors may be more likely to ask for services they may need (such as vocational rehabilitation, exercise programs, occupational therapy and physiotherapy) from insurance providers.

One of the healthcare provider’s roles in the return to work process is to encourage survivors to explore and access services that are available through:

  • cancer centres
  • community agencies
  • government departments (for example, through Service Canada)
  • the private sector (services through self pay, insurance or extended health)
  • online resources
  • print resources
  • telephone emotional support lines

Accessing these services can help survivors play an active role in their rehabilitation and give them more control over the process. It can be very helpful for cancer survivors if healthcare providers familiarize themselves with resources that are not cancer specific. Some of these services may target people that have had health conditions as a result of cancer and treatments (such as brain injury, arthritis or amputations) that affect workability. Also, resources on vocational rehabilitation and legal issues that serve the general public may be helpful for cancer survivors.

For a list of some of the resources available in your province see our resources section.

For ideas for survivors on how to address the challenges that cancer and its treatment present at work, see Cancer and its impact on work.

Next step:

Step 7: Identify supports that will enable survivors to work

Back to the list of return to work preparation steps