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Coping with school or work when cancer comes along (for cancer patients)


Coping with school or work when cancer comes along can be incredibly challenging, but with the right strategies and support, it's possible to navigate these difficulties. Here are some steps and considerations to help you cope:

  1. Open Communication: If you're diagnosed with cancer, it's important to communicate with your school or workplace as soon as possible. Let them know about your diagnosis, treatment plan, and any anticipated changes to your schedule or responsibilities.
  2. Seek Medical Advice: Consult with your medical team to understand the potential impact of cancer treatment on your ability to attend school or work. They can provide insights into your energy levels, treatment schedule, and any necessary accommodations.
  3. Explore Accommodations: Both schools and workplaces often have policies in place to support individuals facing health challenges. Discuss potential accommodations such as flexible schedules, remote work, reduced workload, or modified assignments.
  4. Create a Support System: Inform your friends, family, teachers, professors, colleagues, and supervisors about your situation. Having a strong support system can provide emotional support, help you manage tasks, and offer understanding during tough times. You may want to share some of the relevant videos we have created here with friends and family.
  5. Plan Ahead: Work with your medical team to create a treatment plan that aligns with your school or work commitments as much as possible. Anticipating treatment-related challenges and planning around them can help minimize disruptions.
  6. Prioritise Self-Care: Balancing cancer treatment, school or work, and self-care is essential. Focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle by getting enough rest, eating well, staying physically active (if your condition allows), and engaging in relaxation techniques.
  7. Time Management: Learning to manage your time effectively becomes even more important. Prioritise tasks and assignments and break them down into manageable steps. Avoid overloading yourself by setting realistic goals.
  8. Flexible Options: If available, consider online courses or remote work options. These can provide more flexibility in managing your responsibilities while undergoing treatment.
  9. Emotional Well-being: Cancer can take a toll on your emotional well-being. Don't hesitate to seek counselling, therapy, or support groups to help you cope with the emotional challenges that come with the diagnosis and treatment.
  10. Notice What You Are Doing Well: This can make a significant difference. Focus on your strengths, celebrate small victories, and remind yourself of your goals beyond cancer treatment.
  11. Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about your condition, treatment options, and potential side effects. Knowledge can help you feel more in control and make informed decisions.
  12. Flexible Plans: Be prepared to adjust your plans as needed. Your health should be your top priority, so be open to modifying your educational or career path if necessary.

Remember that everyone's situation is unique, and what works best for you will depend on various factors such as the type of cancer, the stage of treatment, your personal circumstances, and available resources. Don't hesitate to lean on your support network and seek professional advice to tailor a coping strategy that suits your needs.

By Mona H, Online Counsellor, Canteen Australia