After you end treatment, it is a good idea to keep records of your treatment and care going forward. If you are returning to work, there are laws for your protection. This fact sheet covers the following:
- What a treatment summary is
- How a follow-up plan can help
- Protections for returning to work
Ask your doctor for a treatment summary, which lists the key details about your diagnosis and treatment. Your treatment plan should include the following information:
Type and stage of your cancer, as well as the date you were diagnosed.
Types of treatment you received (including surgical procedures, prescriptions, radiation doses and all tests given) and the dates performed.
Complications experienced (such as side effects, transfusions and hospitalizations).
Other treatments used (such as physical therapy, acupuncture, herbs, vitamins or other alternative treatments).
Discuss with your doctor what your follow-up care plan will be. This may include:
- A description of your health status at the end of treatment.
- A schedule of your future appointments, including times and dates.
- Who will deliver follow-up care and where.
- Tests that will be done and why they are needed.
- What long-term effects might occur, how to watch for them and how they will be treated.
- Symptoms to watch for that might signal a return of your cancer.
- Steps you can take to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Returning to Work: Laws You Should Know
Sometimes, employers may assume that you are cannot work as well as before the cancer diagnosis. It is important to know the laws that protect you in the workplace, including:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Organizations with 15 or more employees must follow ADA guidelines. To qualify for ADA protection, you must:
- Meet the ADA definition of a “disabled person.”
- Qualify for the job and be able to perform its essential functions.
- Not pose a risk to your own or others’ health and safety.
- Not cause “undue hardship” to your employer for any accommodations you might need.
You may need flexible work hours in order to go to medical appointments. Sometimes, changing your duties or the number of hours you work may be considered reasonable, especially if you work through treatment or plan to return after treatment.
If you need flextime, it is important to tell your supervisor or your human resources department about your cancer history in order to be protected under the ADA. If you don’t give any reason for frequent flextime requests, you could risk losing your job. For more information, call 800-514-0301 or visit the ADA website, www.ada.gov.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables people coping with a serious illness, or a family member who is caring for them, to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks within one calendar year. The FMLA applies to organizations with 50 or more employees.
The employee must have worked with their employer for at least one year, and employers must continue providing health benefits during the leave. Leave does not have to be taken all at once and can be taken in blocks of time. To learn more, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website at www.dol.gov and search for FMLA.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can help if you feel you are being treated unfairly. The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces the provisions of the ADA and FMLA and helps people who feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace. Call 800-669-4000 or visit www.eeoc.gov.
Edited by Hayley Feuchs, LMSW