When Someone You Work With Has Cancer

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What about when treatment is over?

If the employee took time off or had a reduced schedule, let them slowly make the transition back to full-time work hours. Remember to keep the lines of communication open. Ask if you can help with anything as their schedule and work load goes back to normal.

When the employee returns to a normal work schedule, the natural impulse is for colleagues and managers to breathe a sigh of relief and assume the rough patch is over. Although the stress of treatment is over, emotional stress lingers for a while, for both the employee and their co-workers. Sometimes problems like fatigue can go on for months after treatment has ended. It might help to let other employees know that the time after treatment can also be a challenge. Sometimes people with cancer feel even more vulnerable once the active phase of treatment is over.

Be alert for resentment from other employees. Now that the person feels better, others may express resentment about the extra work they had to do during the employee’s treatment. Try to address this, rather than allowing it to simmer.

Last Medical Review: 05/21/2012
Last Revised: 03/03/2014