Regreso al trabajo con cáncer de vejiga

“You have bladder cancer.”

Although it may feel like the world stops the moment you hear these words, life goes on and sometimes that means going back to work. Whether you’re thinking about continuing to work during treatment or returning afterward, here are things you can do to make things easier.

Talk to your healthcare provider

If you know that returning to work during or after bladder cancer treatment is a priority for you, it is important to tell your cancer care team. Although most of your treatment plan will depend on how invasive or aggressive your bladder cancer is, health care providers (HCPs) may also take into account your desire to work, he said. Eila Skinner, MDa urologic oncologist and professor of urology at Stanford Health Care at Stanford in Stanford, California.

“Most people with bladder cancer actually have outpatient bladder surgeries or treatments,” Skinner said. “So patients need to take time off work for each treatment, but that doesn’t necessarily have a big effect on their ability to work.”

He added that more complicated treatments such as bladder removal, radiation or chemotherapy could make work more difficult, but health care providers can still help by providing guidance related to work issues. “We will help you and your employer identify how you can be absent from work and guide you as to the documents you need,” Skinner said.

Many patients also have the option of speaking with a social worker at the facility where they will receive treatment to prepare a plan to return to work. These social workers can also guide patients regarding support services.

Know your legal rights

Know your legal rights

If you need to take time off for treatment or other reasons related to your bladder cancer, you may be eligible for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Law [Ley federal de permisos de ausencia por razones familiares y médicas] (FMLA). Under the FMLA, if you have cancer you can take up to 12 unpaid weeks of protected leave per year if:

  • You have worked for your employer for at least 12 months
  • You have worked at least 1,250 hours (approximately 25 hours per week) in the last 12 months
  • You work at a workplace with 50 or more employees 75 miles or less from your home

FMLA leaves can be taken all at once or in shorter periods. You can also reduce your daily hours or your part-time job temporarily.

People with cancer (or a history of cancer) may also be eligible for legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law that prevents discrimination against people with disabilities. This is because the ADA considers the term “disabilities” to include any impairment that substantially limits a major daily activity or a history of such impairments.

Under the ADA, barriers must evaluate employees with cancer based on their skills, knowledge and experience, as well as how the disease affects them. They should not make decisions about employees with cancer because of fears or stereotypes related to the disease.

For example, an employer may not transfer an employee who is undergoing treatment for bladder cancer to a less important position because of concerns that the stress of the job will make the cancer worse.

The ADA also requires candidates to provide workplace accommodations (called reasonable accommodations) for people with cancer so they can continue doing their jobs.

In addition to these federal protections, your human resources department can answer questions about your employers’ specific policies related to:

  • Short and long term disabilities
  • Insurance
  • Flex Time and Sick Leave

Ask for adaptations to be implemented

Ask for adaptations to be implemented

Once you tell your employer about your bladder cancer, you can ask for accommodations to make your job easier during and after treatment. Some accommodations covered by the ADA include:

  • Additional or extended breaks
  • A private area to rest and meditate.
  • work from home
  • Share your work with a colleague

Other examples of adjustments that could make your job more feasible for you include:

  • Reorganize your workspace (or move to a new one)
  • Change your schedule or work during hours that are not normally work hours
  • Temporary change to a different position in the company
  • Avoid physical exertion
  • Ensure you have access to seats when you need them
  • Take time off for medical appointments

The first step in obtaining accommodations is to identify what you must provide to your employer, if that applies. Companies may ask for documentation, such as medical approvals or notifications from your healthcare provider.

Get ready to return

Prepare to return

Once the accommodations are established, it will be time for the final details. Think about what you want to share with your colleagues about your bladder cancer. Look at the situation of the bathrooms and access to private bathrooms, in which you can perform. catheterizations or address other needs.

It’s a good idea to pack an emergency kit for your desk or car in case you end up unexpectedly working (or stuck in traffic). The kit should contain things like medications, ostomy supplies, and anything else they may need.

According to Skinner, the best thing you can do is focus on one day at a time.

“I usually tell patients not to think too many steps in advance because those situations are simply not predictable,” he said. “I’m an optimist, so I tell them to be optimistic until there’s a reason not to be.”

This educational resource was created with the support of Astellas, Merck and Pfizer.

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