​​During cancer treatment, some people may stop working. After treatment is finished, some people consider going back to their old workplace or starting new work.

You may have some challenges that may prevent you from going back to work full-time after treatment, or at all. If you are unable to return to work, you may feel sad and angry. It is normal to feel this way.

Cancer can affect your life even after treatment is over, including your ability to return to work. If you feel down, you may need to talk to your doctor. They can help you identify why you are feeling down and help you better cope with your feelings.


Causes of stress around returning to work

Going back to work after receiving treatment for cancer can be very challenging. There are a few things you should consider before you decide to return to work.

  • Cognitive concerns: After cancer treatment, you may notice changes in the way you think. These changes are called “cancer-related brain fog”. Brain fog can make it difficult for you concentrate, remember things, and solve problems. These changes can affect your work performance, and place extra stress on you. See also: Cancer-related Brain Fog »
  • Fatigue: Cancer-related fatigue can continue for a long time after cancer treatment is done. Fatigue is when you feel tried and your tiredness does not go away with rest or sleep. Fatigue can make it hard for you to return to work or do every day activities. See also: Fatigue »
  • Emotional concerns: It is normal to worry about going back to work. You might feel that you aren’t emotionally or physically ready for work. You might feel that you are not able to perform tasks like you used to or meet work expectations. It is okay to feel this way. It is important to give yourself time to heal when you are considering returning to work.


What you can do about it

If you decide to go back to work, there are a few things you can do to help prepare you.


Last reviewed: 2/24/2021
Last modified: 9/26/2023 9:24 AM
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