When I was diagnosed with my first breast cancer, one of my main fears concerned my ability to continue working during treatment and, if necessary, to take time off. My career in education was critical to me and my economic survival. I was fortunate; I was able to work through daily radiation treatments missing only a few days of work post surgery.
My biggest problem came a year later when the organization I worked for closed with only a month’s warning. My fears ran the gamut from “Do I need to tell my new employer about my breast cancer,” to, “Will my new company insurance coverage view my breast cancer as a pre-existing condition and not cover me for any screenings or, if needed, additional surgery or treatment”? I only wish that I had an organization such as Cancer and Careers.org during that time in my life.
Cancer and Careers is the organization to turn to when you are diagnosed and need to know how to tell your boss and what to share with your coworkers. This organization can help with planning for the possible realities of how treatment will effect you and your ability to work and what you can expect from your employer. Here you will learn about your legal rights. Here you will also hear what others in similar circumstances do because, the truth is, work doesn’t stop once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Over 80% of cancer survivors return to work after treatment.
Cancer and Careers runs the following programs and services nationwide:
CancerandCareers.org and espanol.cancerandcareers.org, An interactive resource with over 100 articles, downloadable tools, charts and checklists covering everything from telling your boss, to scheduling treatments, and knowing your legal rights. Currently serving over 160,000 visitors each year (in English and in Spanish), the website now features expanded content for lower income workers, including where to get pro-bono legal advice, financial assistance, and what to do if you do not have insurance.
Cancer and Careers‘ library of publications, including The Living and Working With Cancer Workbook; the Most Important Resources for Working Women with Cancer; the Survival Guides, including the Guide to Unemployment, the Guide to Working With Cancer as a Chronic Illness, and the Low Income Guide; and the On The Go Guides, which feature indispensable advice on nutrition, fitness, and beauty. All publications are or will be available in English and Spanish.
Nationally-held Cancer and Careers Community Seminars, addressing the unique challenges of cancer in the workplace. The series offers employees with cancer guidance on some of the biggest issues faced when trying to balance both treatment and work. In 2010, Seminars were held in Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Cancer and Careers‘ Online Career Coaching Center, offering cancer survivors free access to professional career coaches who address individual questions on how to manage their careers during and after treatment, as well as articles on universal professional development issues that affect employees with cancer.
Monthly Support Groups for employees in-treatment or recently post-treatment. The goal of these groups is to create a safe, open and honest environment where people juggling the demands of work, family and cancer can come together to share and learn from one another. Working with a NYS Licensed Clinical Social Worker, the groups set their own course, including guest speakers on topics of particular interest.
Cancer and Careers Online Diary, an interactive tool for people to share their personal experiences of working through cancer.
Cancer and Careers Beauty of Caring Events, an inspiring evening featuring a full schedule of beauty, career and wellness seminars for working women with cancer. In 2010, events were held in Boston, New York and Washington, DC.
FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS:
Presentations at healthcare industry conferences, nationwide, including Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW). As presenters we strive to educate attendees on the most critical issues of balancing work and cancer faced by their patients. Topics addressed include patients disclosing their diagnosis, returning to work after absences, managing side effects on-the-job, creating a workable schedule and legal and insurance issues.
The Cancer and Careers Educational Series for Healthcare
Professionals, which provides oncology nurses, social workers, patient navigators and other support providers with concise, targeted information on combining work and cancer treatment so that they can in turn effectively inform their patients. This annual, accredited program includes a multi-part seminar series, accessible via webinars or teleconferences, and archived on the website for replay anytime.
A dedicated Website Area for Healthcare Professionals on advising patients combining work and treatment, which includes articles, access to archived presentations and a downloadable Community Seminar kit so they can hold educational events of their own.
FOR YOUNG ADULTS (NEW IN 2010)
This underserved community of 18-40 year olds has its own set of unique challenges to tackle, including the issues of working through treatment early in a career. Cancer and Careers is expanding its reach to include the follow dedicated programming for Young Adults:
Enhanced Cancer and Careers Job Tools, including our Interview Cheat Sheet, Networking Tracker, Case Studies, and Sample Resumes.
Presentations at conferences for this unique audience, including the OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults. At these events CAC provides vital information on the critical issues of working through treatment for young professionals with cancer.
Monthly Support Groups for Young Adults working through cancer. Working with a NYS Licensed Clinical Social Worker, the group will set its own course, including guest speakers on topics of particular interest.
Cancer and Careers is a program of the CEW Foundation, the charitable arm of Cosmetic Executive Women, Inc., a New York-based non-profit trade organization of 4,000 executives in the beauty, cosmetics, fragrance and related industries. To visit go to: www.cancerandcareers.org.