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When a Coworker Has Cancer

About 40% of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime. This fear of a cancer diagnosis can hamper your ability to say the right things when you discover a coworker has cancer. Your genuine and heartfelt words (consistent with your relationship and how well you know your coworker) are best. For example, "I am really sorry you are facing this. I care and want you to know I am here for you." Don’t overreact, don’t try to cheer up a cancer victim or share cancer stories, don’t give pep talks or advice, and don’t use phrases like, "keep your chin up." When offering help, be specific about a task or project you can accept to lessen your coworker’s burden. Don’t say, "Let me know how I can help." Above all, don’t stop treating your coworker like a coworker. That’s who they are.

UR Medicine EAP is brought to you by Well-U, helping eligible individuals to assess issues, and provide short-term counseling and referrals.

Keith Stein | 8/6/2020

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