How Long After Chemo Can I Return To Work (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After 18-24 months

When your cancer treatment is done with chemotherapy, you may look forward to getting back to work. A workplace would be a great place for a fresh mind and focus on something beyond cancer. Maybe getting back to work is not an option for all cancer patients. 

The mental, physical, or emotional effects of cancer may hamper the work plans. So going back to normal life and returning to work depends upon three factors. The intensity of the side effects due to chemo treatment is the first factor. The second factor is the physical need and stress of your work. The other factors include your demand for the follow-up routine and others.

How Long After Chemo Can I Return To Work?

TypeTime
Low dosage of chemo18 months
High dosage of chemo24 months

Cancer is not a disease like other common diseases. It is a life-threatening disease in which some of the body cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Cancer could begin its division from almost any part of the body. Our body can erase the harmed cells with abnormal DNA before they turn cancerous. But this ability goes down as we grow older. So this is the reason why there is a higher risk of cancer at an older age.

Chemotherapy is a treatment procedure meant to destroy the rapidly growing cells in the body. It is a type of aggressive form of chemical drug therapy. This treatment is used to treat cancer as cancer cells divide rapidly than other cells. An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in cancer treatment. They will help you to do all the treatment including chemotherapy.

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Chemotherapy is usually done in combination with other therapies, including surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy. Being sure of which stage you are in and the type of cancer you have, the right combination of therapy will be decided by your oncologist.

While getting your treatment you have been taking work leave for some time. And you might be thinking about going back to work after your treatment is done. It’s a good decision to go back to normal life. It might help you to boost up Your mood. This could help you to remind you that Cancer is not the only thing in your life. You are a good boss, a valued employee, a trusted co-worker, and a lot more than this.

Why Can I Return To Work So Long After Chemo?

Cancer sometimes causes a depressing effect on your life. You may feel lonely and isolate yourself. At this phase, you need more support and care from your family. Try to be around them, this could heal you emotionally. Talk to your health care provider to clear the health screenings before joining back to work.

Even if you don’t have to do anything physically, the pressure of work and the responsibility towards it may make you feel tired sometimes. Some jobs give additional stress to you. Are you prepared enough to re-enter the world of responsiveness, deadlines, stress? Because as a cancer survivor your primacy is to take care of your health emotionally and physically. Listen to your doctor and take care of your body by following the post-therapy care. Talk to your family and your loved ones.

Returning to work can be considered as best, but when the time is right for it. Get ready for physical and mental pressure and how to handle those before stepping forward for work. Even though your doctor and you have decided to go back to work that doesn’t necessarily mean a full-time schedule of work.

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As chemotherapy is designed to kill the cells which divide rapidly. Cells of those areas of treatment were affected badly. The areas like your blood, hair, skin, and the lining of, your intestine are adversely affected due to chemotherapy treatment. So your doctor will help you out through managing skills, medication, and lifestyle tips.

Conclusion

Although you are ready for the physical pressure of your work, make sure you are not on a full-time job schedule for a few months. With time you may continue to go full time. Listen to your body and then make adjustments according to that. Taking a break from work to fight against cancer is not similar to other breaks you took. Fighting against cancer is a lot more and exhausting. Fatigue due to cancer can last for more than 7 months to a year in some cancer survivors.

The most common worry that may come to your mind as a cancer survivor is that you may be fired from work to miss too many days of work. But thanks to federal law including the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act. According to which you can’t be eliminated or downgraded from your work for being ill for a duration. As long as you are eligible and qualified for work you can do your job by rejoining after the break.

Reference

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142961211008684
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-185X.1982.tb00369.x
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