October is more than the beginning of cold weather and pumpkin spice lattes.
This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Constangy would like to honor all the women who have battled breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a way to increase awareness of the disease and to promote research into its cause, prevention, treatment, and cure.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. In fact, one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Despite these daunting rates, nationally there are more than 3.3 million breast cancer survivors, including celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Robin Roberts, and Cynthia Nixon. Most of us probably know a loved one or a co-worker who has been affected by the disease.
International organizations and companies participate in the promotion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ranging from retailers who donate a portion of their sales to breast cancer organizations to coffee houses who offer “pink” drinks during the month of October. Though enjoying these goods could certainly help, it is most important to be mindful of prevention in your everyday life.
Because we still don’t know all the causes of breast cancer or everything that can be done to prevent it, early detection is the best weapon. Women should self-monitor and undergo regular screening. The National Breast Cancer Foundation provides a symptoms guide and other helpful materials that can be downloaded from its website.
For women who support their households, a breast cancer diagnosis is not only a personal health threat, but also a threat to financial stability. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer and need to leave work, you may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per 12-month period to employees who are eligible and whose employers are covered by the FMLA. You may also be eligible for short-term or long-term disability benefits under your employer’s policies.
If your spouse, parent, or child is diagnosed with breast cancer, you may be eligible to take FMLA leave to care for them.
Breast cancer would also qualify as a “disability” under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, so you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations that would enable you to continue working. Reasonable accommodations can include time off for doctor’s visits, periodic breaks to rest or take medication, modified work schedules, and other adjustments, as long as they allow you to perform the essential functions of your job. Talk with your employer to find out what works for you both.
From all of us at Constangy, we urge you to be proactive about your health by
- Receiving regular mammograms
- Conducting monthly breast exams
- Practicing a healthy and active lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.
Don’t forget -- women’s health is a national issue.
We recognize the immeasurable value of women leaders supporting other women in the workplace through example, mentorship, education and empathy. We hope you enjoy our tidbits of legal and practical information, wisdom, and humor. Thanks for joining the conversation!