After a breast cancer diagnosis, everyone’s priorities are different. You may choose to continue to work, take time off or give up work completely. There is no right or wrong, and your choice will be dependent on your circumstances.
The following information is tailored to those who are self-employed. However, the considerations and suggestions we provide here may be helpful for anyone with breast cancer who is working, planning to return to work or managing multiple life roles.
Side effects from breast cancer differ from person to person, and it’s important to be aware of them so you can make the necessary adjustments for your role or business. For example, you may need time away from work to have treatment, to rest and recuperate both physically and emotionally.
Upon your return to work, it’s likely you will need to adjust your working day to accommodate for fatigue and your physical capability. Your doctors can prescribe medication to relieve symptoms. However, it’s important to have a back-up plan for your role or business in case there are times when you are unable to work.
Eventually, work piled up as the chemo started to slow me down. The surgery that followed was a further drain, while radiation was not so much of an impediment to work, as a daily routine that interfered with running a successful business.
If you are thinking about continuing to work during treatment, ask yourself the following questions:
These tips may help you manage your workload should you need to reduce the hours you're available to work:
These tips may help you manage your time and give you the flexibility you need to continue working:
Even if you don’t have employees, you can still have a team of contractors or freelancers for a period of time.
Incorporating strategies to delegate work tasks may be helpful:
It may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
Side effects of treatment can be difficult to manage at any stage. When you are self-employed, however, you may not have the level of support that someone employed by a large organisation has. This can make managing side effects more difficult.
The following tips can help when dealing with side effects:
Contact BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, for information about the services and support that may be available for you and your family.
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