When Mary found the lump in her breast, her first thought was, ”How am I going to support my family if I’m sick?” The thought echoed through her head during her doctor visit, her mammogram, her ultrasound, and her diagnosis. When her doctor discussed treatment plans, Mary wanted to know, “Will I be able to work through my treatment?”

You depend on your paycheck and your insurance, especially now that you’re sick. But you may wonder how you can undergo chemotherapy and radiation and still keep your job. You may wonder how long the treatment will take and whether the side effects of treatment will affect your ability to do your job.

It’s true that chemotherapy can make you feel worse than the cancer. Your side effects will depend on which medications you are given, the dosage of the medication, and the length of time that you receive treatment. Common side effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Mouth sores
  • Hair loss
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Susceptibility to infection

Talk to your doctor about the side effects associated with your cancer treatment plan. Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are able to continue working throughout their treatment. You may be able to schedule your chemotherapy and radiation around your work obligations.

If you suffer severe side effects from chemotherapy, you may have to temporarily adjust your schedule or reduce your workload. You may even have to take some time off from work.  

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are protected under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons. You do not have to take all twelve weeks at once.

In order to qualify for FMLA leave, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months before making the FMLA request.
  • You must have worked more than 1,250 hours in the past year.
  • Your company must employ 50 or more people.

If you have stage 4 breast cancer, or if your cancer will keep you from working for a year or longer, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI).

For more information about applying for SSDI for breast cancer, read our article, “SSDI Provides Safety Net for Those With Advanced Breast Cancer.” To discuss your claim with a knowledgeable and skilled Omaha Social Security disability lawyer, contact Cuddigan Law today at 402-933-5405. Our compassionate team offers a free initial evaluation to discuss your case.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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