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Returning to work / staying at work

For some people with cancer, getting closer to returning to work is exciting. For them, things are getting back to a “new normal.” For other people, work can bring up concerns, especially if their options are limited. Whatever your situation, it is wise to start thinking about returning to work as soon as possible. This includes identifying possible challenges and considering solutions and options.

In this short video, Tina describes her back-to-work process, including a conversation with her doctor:

Steps in getting ready to return to work

There are distinct steps to planning to return to work. The first step is to understand your current abilities concerning the demands of the job. Once you have a sense of your current abilities, the next step is to reflect on what you can do about any challenges you anticipate when you return to work. The suggestion is that you discuss your abilities and challenges with your healthcare team and how these could be addressed.

You can also identify the supports in your personal life and those at work you will need to help you perform at your highest, safest and most productive level. Remember you do not need to be 100% recovered to start a return to work plan, and it may take some time to recover fully. Once you have reviewed these steps, you are ready to discuss your return to work plan with your healthcare provider. A good return to work plan also involves monitoring the progress and addressing concerns that arise at the workplace.

Return to work steps:

  1. Understand your current abilities about your work
  2. Understand your challenges in returning to work
  3. Communicate with your healthcare team
  4. Consider strategies to improve your abilities, enhance your wellbeing, and meet workplace challenges
  5. Identify supports that will enable you to work
  6. Develop a formal return to work plan
  7. Prepare for the first days, weeks, months back at work
  8. Monitor your progress
  9. Manage expectations at your workplace