RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
According to a new health study, women who get chemotherapy for breast cancer may end up unemployed for quite some time.
Patricia Paige was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. The day she was diagnosed she notified her job and two days later, Paige was told that because of budget restraints she was being let go.
Paige says she couldn't help but suspect her cancer was the real reason.
"When I went through chemo, there's no way I could have worked going through my treatment," she says. "I had what they call hard chemo and 10 days I was in the bed or needed assistance. Of course when you tell somebody something and then two days later they said you don't have a job, you think it's because of that."
A new study from the University of Michigan suggests 30 percent of breast cancer survivors end up losing their jobs, many of them missing significant time from work because of chemotherapy. This leaves many patients with thousands in medical bills and with no way to pay for them.
Paige says the experience left her feeling helpless.
"Not depression but desperation," she says. "A feeling of it's my fault, what could I have done."
She believes a cure has to be found and more pressure has to be put on employers to be more sympathetic.
"It's not that we don't want to work, we just simply cannot work."
Paige's cancer went into remission in 2008 and she's found another job. She says support groups at the American Cancer Society and God helped her get through everything.
"They do get better. It's a struggle but you can never stop fighting." Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond Related Stories: Joblessness an unwanted side effect of chemo for breast cancer