The stigma of cancer and having cancer is foremost in the mind of the person with cancer. As we all know, no one would know we have/had cancer unless we told them. Can't be seen, can't be felt in most cases, but it's there.
As far as work, it all depends how much you told your superiors at work. Under HIPPA laws, you don't have to really say much, if any at all. That's the medical privacy portion of the law in your favor.
As far as losing your job, what state do you live in? Here in South Carolina, it's an "at will" state, which means you can be fired without reason or cause "at will" of the employer. That sucks from an employee point of view, most people here I know that were unjustly fired lose all their appeals. Also, like many states, SC is a "right to work" state, which means that unions aren't worth a pinch of salt, and have no arbitration value.
A short story in reality. After my 3rd bout of porocarcinoma which was dx. at the end of 1999, my employer, a large 84 million $ firm, had had enough of my medical problems, plus they were "self insured" and my surgeries and treatments were costing them an arm and a leg. I was very good at my job, so they had no easy way of getting rid of me. I was the top IT guy (Yes, I do that aside from accounting/finance) and ran a 6 state operation that I designed and set up. My 3rd bout, involved 3 surgeries, 36 days of radiation, and 6 months of physical therapy.
Unknownst to me, during the physical therapy time, the company set out an outsourced solution for my entire department. One Friday I came in to work, and was told my entire department was eliminated and was being outsourced. Beside my job, it cost the jobs of two innocent staff members that had the misfortunte to work for me.
I talked it over with lawyers, and because of the "at will" and the "right to work" laws in this state, there was no way I could prove that I was let go for medical reasons. But it was too obvious, my last cancer bout cost the company over a quarter of a million dollars at the time. My 7 years of loyal services didn't offset what I was doing to their bottom line.
In the end, I took a pretty geneorus severance package and walked away. My laid-off staff members got nothing but their final pay.
Morale of the story, becareful of what your tell your employer about
your PC, it dx, your treatments, and the aftermath, get more familiar with your rights under HIPPA, doctor's and employer's are afraid of those laws, because patients have been winning some good law suits when their rights are being violated.
My best to you.
David in SC
56, 56 at DX, PSA
7/7 5.8, 7/8 12.3,9/8 14.5
3rd Biopsy Sept 08: Positive 7 of 7 cores, 40-90%, Gleason 7, 4+3
Open RP surgery 11/14/8, Right nerves spared, 4 days hospital, staples out 11/24/8, 5th cath out on 1/19/9
Post-surgery Pathlogy Report:Gleason 3+4=7, pT2c, 42 grm, tumor 20%, Contained in capsular, clear margins, clear lymph nodes
First PSA Post Surgery 2/9 .05, 6 month on 5/9