Helping you coworker cope with cancer


If you have a coworker who has been diagnosed with cancer, you may wonder, “what can I do to help?” Before leaping right in, the experts at Cancer and Careers, a non-profit dedicated to supporting people juggling cancer and work, say that it’s important to figure out how to provide the most effective forms of support.

Keep in mind, your coworker may not be disclosing his or her diagnosis to the entire team. It’s critical to understand the level of privacy your coworker intends to maintain so you can provide the most meaningful assistance during treatment and beyond.

How you help a coworker might differ depending on how close the relationship is. When offering help, be specific and focus on tangible things that might make a difference. Go beyond “let me know if I can do anything.” At the same time, it’s important to respect boundaries and offer assistance that’s actually wanted and that you are willing to take on.

Wanting to support your coworker is natural, but knowing how can sometimes be difficult. Be sure to educate yourself so you can engage in the most meaningful interactions with your coworker.