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You Don’t have to Manage Cancer Alone

December 5, 2011

Wise leadership applies to self-care as well as company success, especially in something as personal as breast cancer. Take the lead and set up excellent support networks for yourself inside and outside the workplace. Karen Solomon, two-time breast cancer survivor, learned four keys, that I consider the basis of smart leadership. They particularly apply to breast cancer:

  1. Be smart, do self-exams and get regular diagnostic tests.
  2. Be proactive, but don’t make decisions out of urgency.
  3. Make this a priority; your knowledge is power.
  4. Ask for support! This is a journey you don’t have to go through alone

Women get their diagnosis, experience shock and fear, and then are afraid of taking time off from work (even more so if a single mother with one income). They wait. And the cancer, which if attended to early might not become anything serious, grows.

Even if you are a single mother, or if you are in the middle of a high-stakes project, tell a few key people at work and home and ask for specific support. It’s imperative. The voice of your feminine wisdom is encouraging you to reach out for help. If it were one of your colleagues, friends or family members wouldn’t you be happy to support them in any way possible? You might even be upset if they didn’t tell you.

Each time Karen Solomon got her diagnosis she took the lead, connected to her wise self, and designed a support network that handled every need. Here are her must do tips:

  • Create your team or advocacy council to assist you in making important choices and decisions.
  • Take someone with you to every medical and treatment appointment, no matter how trivial or routine. (surprises are no fun to handle alone)
  • Take a buddy to ask good questions as you interview doctors for second and even third opinions.
  • Ask for more than what you usually need, at home and at work.
  • Go out with colleagues, family and friends and do what you enjoy. Celebrate being alive!
  • Surround yourself with people that have positive attitudes.

Because one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in America, there is a good chance that someone at your office will be touched by the disease, either in themselves or a loved one. It takes a strong and wise leader to offer or ask for support. Reach out. You’ll be glad you did.

Did you go through a journey with breast cancer? Do you have additional tips to share?

Warmest hugs,

Karen (Buckley!)

Karen Solomon and I first posted this article in the Linkage Women in Leadership blog. Check out Karen’s beautiful website for additional resources and support:

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