Many patients are very concerned about keeping their job after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis.
It can require quite a bit of time away from work once a patient is undergoing prostate cancer treatment. Money and health insurance are two pressing concerns for any patient during prostate cancer treatment, so how it will affect your job is an important consideration.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis; What About Missing Work?
Whether you have surgery, hormone therapy or radiation treatment to treat prostate cancer, there will be side effects of each that may require you to miss work. Most patients need time off to have surgery and recover (anywhere from a week to more than a month), and radiation treatment appointments for prostate cancer may cause you to miss work regularly for a long period.
It is important to consider the options your employer offers to allow time off to take care of your health.
• FMLA. The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that allows you up to 12 weeks off work, unpaid, to take care of a health condition. There are conditions to such leave: Your employer must have 50 or more employees, and you must be a full-time employee. You are also required to have been employed by the company for at least one year before you can take FMLA. Ask your employer if you qualify.
• Disability pay. Your employer may offer short-term or long-term disability, or your state government may provide it. These programs allow you to receive a certain percentage of your pay if you are unable to work because of a health condition. Ask your employer if any disability pay is offered through your benefits. Disability insurance policies can be bought independently; ask an insurance agent or a financial planner.
There will also need to be time devoted to managing health care bills and the paperwork relating to your prostate cancer treatment for insurance purposes. You will want track doctor’s visits, hospital visits, treatment dates, and medications that you’ve taken and received. Develop a good filing system so you can. Develop a good system to file all paperwork from your health care providers and your insurer.
Co-Workers May Be Glad To Lend Their Support
You may find that co-workers are a great source of support during and after prostate cancer, and you should tell them as much or as little about your situation and prognosis as you are comfortable with.
Keeping Up With Your Work During Prostate Cancer Treatment
It is a good idea to try to keep up with your work as much as you are able to while you’re out, or during your intermittent time out of the office. Try to talk to colleagues about handling some of your work, and make sure that meetings and deadlines aren’t missed while you’re gone; if possible, see if someone else can cover for you. Many patients also try making a to-do list of everything that you’re working on, so that your manager and co-workers are kept up to date.
If you can investigate the work-related benefits available to you early after your diagnosis can provide peace of mind. If you can keep the communication lines open at work you’ll feel more comfortable knowing that people are there for you.