Courageous Conversations Around Cancer in the Workplace

Welcome to “Courageous Conversations around Cancer in the Workplace” a comprehensive course co-created by Laurie MacCaskill and Tina Staley.

Designed for both individuals grappling with a cancer diagnosis and also for workplaces striving to support employees touched by cancer. Tina, a renowned therapist and founder of Pathfinders combines her professional expertise with the personal experience of Laurie, a 17-year pancreatic cancer survivor and executive coach.

Together, they offer a unique blend of empathy, resilience, and practical strategies. Their combined wisdom aims to empower cancer patients and educate workplaces, fostering an environment of understanding and support.



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Working With Cancer Intro with Laurie MacCaskill and Tina Staley Intro

This insightful course can help to transform the cancer journey from a struggle to a story of triumph. The course’s dual focus serves both individuals diagnosed with cancer and their professional environments. Here are the key learning outcomes:

  • Equip individuals with strategies to manage the impact of cancer, navigate family and work dynamics, and build a robust support network.
  • Enable workplaces to create a supportive environment for employees affected by cancer, understanding their needs and facilitating their transition.
  • Learn to manage and overcome cancer-related stigma, fostering a culture of empathy and understanding in the workplace.
  • Understand how to balance hope and reality, fostering mental resilience and establishing peace of mind.
  • Develop effective communication skills to articulate needs and set boundaries at work.
  • Help individuals embrace the future with mindfulness, gratitude, and a focus on healing.
  • Provide HR practices to prevent discrimination and support employees affected by cancer.
  • Encourage the cultivation of kindness and resilience through the ‘Kindness in Action’ tool.

Course Curriculum

Chapter 1

Introduction: Working With Cancer: From Diagnosis to Dialogue

  • Lesson 1: Has Cancer touched Your Life?

  • Lesson 2: Facing the Unseen: Cancer's Impact

  • Lesson 3: Cancer's Ripple Effect: Navigating Family & Work Dynamics

  • Lesson 4: A Survival Story to Inspire

  • Lesson 5: Pursue Your Passions - A Case Sudy

  • Lesson 6: Stress Reduction with 5 Questions

  • Lesson 7: Workbook: Stress Management Toolkit: Identifying & Managing Stressors


5 lessons, 5 Videos + 2 PDF Downloadable Worksheets + Quiz

Chapter 2

Harnessing the Power of Support

  • Lesson 1: Building Your Support Network

  • Lesson 2: Creating Comfort Amid Uncertainty

  • Lesson 3: Emotional Intelligence: Navigating Empathy

  • Lesson 4: Catalyzing Healing: The Impact of Support

  • Lesson 5: Empathy Creates Profit- A Case Study

  • Lesson 6: Harnessing the Support Circle Tool

  • Lesson 7: Guided Lesson for Mapping Your Support Circle

  • Lesson 8: Workbook: Mapping Your Support Circle


7 lessons, 7 Videos + 1 PDF Downloadable Worksheet + Quiz

Chapter 3

Navigating the Survival Path

  • Lesson1: A Survival Toolkit - From Attunement to Record Keeping

  • Lesson 2: Empowering Your Voice Amidst Cancer

  • Lesson 3: Balancing Hope & Reality: Mental Strength in Cancer

  • Lesson 4: From Chaos to Normalcy: Finding Your Balance

  • Lesson 5: Small Actions Make a Big Impact

  • Lesson 6: Tiny Mighties Small Action Steps - PDF

  • Lesson 7: The Tiny Mighty Action Steps Workbook


5 lessons, 5 Videos + 2 PDF Downloadable Worksheets + Quiz

Chapter 4

Overcoming Stigma

  • Lesson 1: Managing Stigma in the Workplace

  • Lesson 2: Stigma and Workplace Discrimination

  • Lesson 3: Ending Silence

  • Lesson 4: Core Beliefs: The Positive and Negative Influence

  • Lesson 5: Your Core Beliefs Slideshow.pdf

  • Lesson 6: Core Beliefs Workbook - PDF


4 lessons, 4 Videos + 2 PDF Downloadable Worksheets + Quiz

Chapter 5

Working with Cancer: Building Successful HR Practices

  • Lesson 1: Empathy Creates Profit- A Case Study

  • Lesson 2: Reconnecting at Work - Handling Disclosure

  • Lesson 3: Choosing Words Wisely: Cancer Talk for Colleagues & HR

  • Lesson 4: Preventing Discrimination: Workplace Fair Practice

  • Lesson 5: Discriminatory Practices and How to Avoid Them

  • Lesson 6: 5 Simple Steps for Solid HR Practices

  • Lesson 7: 5 Strategies for HR to Support Employees with a Cancer Diagnosis - Slideshow

  • Lesson 8: HR Tip Sheet For Best Cancer Practices


6 lessons, 6 Videos + 2 PDF Downloadable Worksheets + Quiz

Chapter 6

Mastering Communication

  • Lesson 1: Handling Cancer Conversations as a Survivor

  • Lesson 2: Recognition for Increased Productivity

  • Lesson 3: Setting Boundaries at Work

  • Lesson 4: How to Use the Tool for Communicating Frustrating Behavior

  • Lesson 5: Communicating Frustrating Behaviors - PDF

  • Lesson 6: The Raft - A Guided Meditation for Letting Go - Audio


5 lessons, 4 Videos + 1 PDF Downloadable Worksheet + Quiz

Chapter 7

Embracing a Brighter Tomorrow with Self-Care

  • Lesson 1: Lessons In Living With Cancer

  • Lesson 2:The Return to Your Life

  • Lesson 3: Beyond the Diagnosis: Reclaiming Your Life

  • Lesson 4: Healing through Self-Expression

  • Lesson 5: Generosity and Gratitude for Healing

  • Lesson 6: Befriending the Self

  • Lesson 7: How to Use the Kindness in Action Tool

  • Lesson 8: Kindness In Action Slideshow - PDF

  • Lesson 9: Kindness in Action Checklist - PDF


6 lessons, 6 Videos + 3 PDF Downloadable Worksheets + Quiz

Chapter 8

The Way Forward

  • Lesson 1: The Power of Reflection & Resilience

  • Lesson 2: Human Connection: The Heart of Cancer Advocacy

  • Lesson 3: Final Assessment

  • Lesson 4: A Guided Meditation to Meet Your Spirit Guide

  • Lesson 5: Learning from Investing: No Mistakes, Just Lessons

  • Exit Survey


6 lessons, 3 Videos + 0 PDF Downloadable Worksheets + 1 Quiz

Courageous Conversations Around Cancer in the Workplace

Working with cancer is often fraught with challenges that extend far beyond the physical toll of the disease. Survivors, family members, colleagues, and HR professionals all find themselves on an uncharted path, each confronting their unique set of hurdles. In such a context, effective communication becomes more than a soft skill—it's a lifeline.

Working with Cancer For Survivors

For those diagnosed, the news often throws life into disarray. Emotions run high, and it can become immensely difficult to articulate feelings or needs. Yet, this is precisely the moment when communication becomes paramount. Open dialogues with healthcare providers can lead to better treatment plans, while transparent communication with family and friends fosters a more robust support network.

Navigating Family & Work Dynamics

When cancer touches your life, it also touches the lives of those around you. A diagnosis can change relationship dynamics at home and at work. Effective communication can help in managing expectations and creating a supportive atmosphere. In a professional setting, HR can play a crucial role by promoting fair practices and creating an environment that accommodates the unique challenges cancer introduces.

The HR Perspective

In the context of Human Resources, effective communication is not just beneficial; it's imperative. HR professionals are often walking a tightrope, balancing the operational needs of the organization with the sensitivities of employees who are navigating a cancer diagnosis. This dual role demands specialized knowledge, keen emotional intelligence, and adept communication skills. Properly addressing these complexities involves not just implementing flexible policies or providing medical accommodations. It also involves creating an open dialogue where employees feel safe to disclose their conditions and express their needs. Effective communication in this sphere can mitigate misunderstandings, reduce workplace stigma, and foster a culture of empathy and support.

Self-Care and Support Networks

We often overlook the aspect of communicating with ourselves. Our course, stresses the importance of self-talk and mindfulness as powerful tools in managing the stress and uncertainty that come with a cancer diagnosis. For many, the journey through cancer becomes more manageable when they learn to communicate their fears, hopes, and needs clearly to themselves and to their support networks.

Overcoming Stigma

Lastly, communication is the first step in overcoming the stigma often associated with cancer, particularly in the workplace. Transparency, openness, and education can dispel myths and facilitate a more inclusive environment. This course provides actionable steps for both employers and employees to deal with this sensitive issue effectively. In conclusion, whether you are a survivor, a family member, a colleague, or an HR professional, communication stands as a critical skill in navigating the cancer journey. Our comprehensive course, "Working With Cancer: Communication Mastery," offers a multi-faceted look at why and how to enhance these skills for a better, more supportive experience for all.

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