The demands of daily life can sometimes prevent people from staying on track with treatment. Breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy require time for trips to the hospital or clinic, treatment sessions, and recovery. Additional doctor’s appointments can further disrupt your usual weekday schedule. All of this can keep you from handling your normal tasks at work and at home.
The following tips may be helpful in getting the support you need:
- Tell your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers what your schedule will be, and ask for help when you need it. It helps a lot when everyone knows what to expect and how to be helpful to you. Friends and neighbors are often happy to babysit or drive you to appointments — all you need to do is ask.
- Hire help at home if at all possible. Consider hiring a babysitter, housecleaner, or meal delivery service if you can afford it. Handing over these tasks to someone else can free up the time you need for treatments.
- Ask your boss if you can arrange your schedule so you can work more on non-treatment days and take time off for treatment and recovery. Maybe you can do some of your work from home. If this is a problem, you may want to discuss the option of cutting back on work time (working part- or half-time) during your treatment. Either way, let your boss know what you expect your schedule to be like so, together, you can make a plan that works for everyone. To read more, visit Breast Cancer and Your Job.
- Seek out other sources of help if needed. Like many people in today’s mobile society, you may live far away from your closest family and friends. If they cannot travel to be with you and you cannot afford to hire help, talk to your doctor or nurse. They often can direct you to a social worker or local cancer organization that knows about services for people in your situation.
- Consider joining a clinical trial. Patients who participate in studies of new treatments often have a better-than-average chance of sticking to their treatment program. This may be because the people who run clinical trials stay very involved with the patients who are in the study. There are frequent office visits, reminders, more information given about the treatment process, and updates along the way. Remember that in a clinical trial you get the best-known treatment or one that shows potential to be even better. Talk to your doctor or nurse about clinical trials in your area.