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What to tell a potential employer and when?

123Miley's picture
Posts: 94
Joined: Jan 2013

Ok just thought I would throw this out there and see what I got back.  

My original diagnosis was almost 6 years ago. I was a stage 3C.  After 4 months off for surgery and recovery I went back to work and other than chemo days - never missed a day.  Well got through chemo then a few months later got laid off.  I was fortunate to pick a nice work from home gig (same field) and have managed to pull work out of them for the past 4 years.  Well that is coming to and end and I really need to find something to do.  Contract opportunities (especially from home) are almost nonexistent in my line of work.  I am married and could not work if I had to.  I am on my husbands insurance and keeping a roof over my head and food on the table are not riding on this.  But I have always worked and make pretty nice money - not sure I am ready to give that up! 

I had a second interview with a company today and I am fairly confident I am going to get an offer.  I am currently on Doxil for my second reoccurence.  After 3 treatments my tumor maker is down from 190 to 179.  I feel ok and am handling the doxil pretty well.  I go to the doctor 2xs a month - once for lab work and again for treatment (about 1/2 a day)   

The guys that runs this company and I run in a lot of the same professional circles - we've both been in the business in this area for over 20 years.   Lots of people in the industry know my history.  So if he doesn't know it would not be hard for him to find out really. 

So the $64,000 question is what do I say and when?  Or do I keep my mouth shut?


Would also be intersted in hearing others experiences. I can certainly understand the employers position - if I had two candidates who were equalily qualified in every way - but one of them had cancer ..............


Tethys41's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Sep 2010

I used to feel an obligation to be completely open with my employer, and I lost my job as a result.  This was pre-cancer, but I learned a valuable lesson.  If they don't ask, don't tell them.  You need to protect your own interests.  I would not bring it up until asked or until it is absolutely necessary.  If he finds out later and asks why you didn't tell him, tell him that it didn't seem important.

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I'd not bring it up, as doesn't have any relevancy to you getting the job.  Most states have laws that one cannot ask about health issues during the interviewing process.  Now if you were in middle of chemo with NO hair, well that's another story.

Take it day by day and if you look and feel good, go out and get the new job and enjoy life!!


Alexandra's picture
Posts: 1311
Joined: Jul 2012

Miley, I do not live in the US, so my view may not be all that relevant to your situation. If I were you, I would spend a few bucks and talk to an employment lawyer in your area.

Given the fact that your potential employer can easily research your medical history, I would disclose it after you receive the unconditional job offer and make sure it is in writing. If they are OK with it - great, you got the job. If they invent some excuse and try to get rid of you right away or during probation period, you got a million dollar lawsuit on your hands for human rights violation.

Good luck!

mom2greatkids's picture
Posts: 528
Joined: Jun 2011

I interviewed for a few teaching jobs last summer.  I knew I was headed back into chemo. I did tell them as I knew I would be out some, and obviously the hair issue.  Had I still been in remission, I would not have mentioned it as it would not have been an issue at that time.


Best wishes.



dottyann's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2010

I had been dealing with Stage 3C ovarian cancer since 2006. I relocated from AZ to CT and had to obtain new employment. I never mentioned my health until I was working about 1 1/2 months later. I told my manager that I would periodically have to have MD appt for follow up and also I needed to have my port flush. A couple of months later, I had to have chemo again for a reoccurence. I had to take time off for treatments and I lost my hair again. I am a nurse case maqnager and worked for a large insurance company. They were very accommadating to my needs. I rarely called in sick and kept to my work schedule as much as possible. No one is obligated to discuss health problems when you are seeking a job. It would be discrimatory for them to do this.  Unfortunately, I have been forced to retire now due to my health. I have been receiving chemo treatments all the time now and I am very fatigued. I was waiting to turn 65 so I would be able to have some insurance coverage. I did work for the company for 3 1/2 years and had a very good experience working around my health issues.

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