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One in five cancer patients discriminated against on return to work

Posted on from Changeboard

Returning to work after a cancer diagnosis can be a very fraught experience. With many people needing work to retain sense of normality, how can you make their return to work easier?

An estimated 20,000 people returning to work after being diagnosed with cancer are discriminated against every year.  

According to new research by MacMillan Cancer Support and YouGov, 18% of people that returned to work after a cancer diagnosis say they have faced discrimination from their colleagues or employers. 

A further 35% reported other negative experiences, such as feeling guilty for taking time off and a loss of confidence in their ability to do their job. 

One in seven (15%) admitted to returning to work ‘before they felt ready’, with 14% of respondents either giving up work or being made redundant following a diagnosis. 

Liz Egan, ‘Working Through Cancer Programme’ lead at MacMillan Cancer Support said: “People living with cancer should know that they have the full support of their employer to return to work, if they want and are able to do so. 

“It’s appalling that, during an already difficult and often stressful time, so many employers are not offering the right support to people with cancer, leaving them with little choice but to leave.”

Continuing to work was of importance to the majority of respondents, as 85% said that they wanted to keep working, with 60% of those wishing to stay in work looking ‘to maintain a sense of normality’. 

Egan added: “We know that, for many people living with cancer, work helps them to feel more in control and maintain a sense of normality. Returning to work after cancer can also be an integral part of their recovery, so it is crucial that employers show support and understanding to make this a reality.”


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