Handling a Critical Illness in the Office

"Cancer survivors sometimes face 'job lock' when they are afraid to leave their current employer for fear of not being able to get health insurance or losing the coverage they have," says Smith.

"The good news is that many cancer patients become much better employees after their treatment," he says. "And they also report a high level of support from co-workers and employers."

The American Cancer Society provides the following tips for employees with cancer.

-- Plan treatments for late in the day or right before the weekend to allow time to recuperate.

-- Explore work options, such as occasional telecommuting, to eliminate a tiresome commute and provide a more comfortable work atmosphere.

-- Maximize work time with a simple work schedule. Daily chores and administrative duties may be tasks that can be divided among friends and co-workers.

Bill McGuire contributed to this story.

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