School and Work: Adjusting Your Schedule

A cancer diagnosis as a young adult may require making adjustments to educational or career-related goals. Young adults with cancer are often able to continue with work or school by modifying their routines and schedules. Your teachers and co-workers may prove to be excellent sources of guidance and support should you choose to disclose your diagnosis.

Before returning to school, make an appointment with your school’s office of student affairs to discuss the transition back to student life. The office’s administrators can refer you to the appropriate health and financial resources, as well as discuss your school’s health services and student health insurance policy. Consider meeting with the staff in your student health center to make them aware of your medical history.

Many young adults are able to return to the workplace during or after treatment. However, some may need to limit the number of hours they work per week or choose to leave their job entirely. Tell your doctor about your typical workday, along with your treatment history, to help form a recommendation on whether you can return to work.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helps protect the civil rights of people with a disability, which includes facing a cancer diagnosis. Talk to your supervisor or your human resources department and discuss accommodations that may help ease your transition, including a flexible work schedule or a re-evaluation of your job’s responsibilities and duties. Read CancerCare’s fact sheet titled “Cancer and the Workplace” for more information on laws that protect patients.