NEW YORK, June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- More than half (53%) of cancer patients and survivors are concerned about limited healthcare access due to policy changes at the national level, according to new national survey results from Cancer and Careers, a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and educating people with cancer to thrive in their workplace. Five years ago, employed patients and survivors listed health insurance as one of three top reasons to continue working (28%). With possible changes to healthcare coverage in the U.S. being considered on Capitol Hill, the importance of the issue is even more critical and relevant now. In 2017, 41% of employed patients and survivors indicate that health insurance is one of the primary reasons they want to work. While health insurance stands out as a top concern for patients and survivors today, the survey also sheds light on the myriad of issues people with cancer face in the workplace.
"As both a career coach and a cancer survivor, I know firsthand the worries and anxiety that come with a diagnosis and how that can impact all aspects of your life, including work. Given the current healthcare environment, it's not surprising that so many people dealing with cancer cited coverage as a main concern," said Kathy Flora, Career Coach for Cancer and Careers and former Human Resources Executive. "In my experience, the challenges for survivors and patients change year-to-year and even day-to-day. That's why it is so important to have support and resources available to help someone make the best decisions possible about work and cancer."
The online survey, conducted between March 13 and April 7, 2017 by Harris Poll, was designed to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of 902 U.S. cancer patients and survivors who are either employed or unemployed, but looking for work. In 2017, financial reasons (63%) holds the number one spot for why patients and survivors want to work, with feeling well enough to keep working as the number two reason (51%).
There is a consistent theme that people with cancer believe working is an essential coping mechanism. This year, 65% of employed and unemployed respondents agreed that working through treatment helps or had helped them cope. The 2017 survey also shows that many patients and survivors feel work has a positive impact on their lives by providing benefits like feeling "normal" (63%) and productive (56%), while providing them with a routine (54%) and keeping their mind off their cancer (45%).
The 2017 survey also highlights that there is limited knowledge around disclosure rights in the workplace. Eighty-nine percent of employed and unemployed patients and survivors know that prospective employers cannot discriminate against them due to their cancer diagnosis, but more than one in five (22%) believe an employer can require them to disclose their diagnosis before hiring them. Additionally, 39% of unemployed respondents feel that a prospective employer would treat them differently if they disclosed their cancer diagnosis, and 36% believe disclosing will negatively affect their chances of getting hired.
Additional survey highlights include:
- 71% of employed patients and survivors feel their employer supported their desire to work, and 69% feel their co-workers understood the challenges of balancing work and cancer.
- 42% of employed patients and survivors feel they need to stay at their current workplace because they need health insurance.
- 35% of employed patients and survivors are afraid to change their work status because it will limit their health insurance options.
- 24% of employed patients and survivors feel like cancer has negatively affected their long-term goals. In 2012, only 12% of employed patients and survivors surveyed said that cancer has kept them from reaching their true potential in their work and personal life.
- 35% of unemployed patients and survivors wish there were a place to go for advice about how to find and maintain a job.
"For the last five years we've commissioned annual surveys to better understand the changing experiences and needs of cancer patients and survivors so we can be at the forefront of helping them succeed in the workplace," said Rebecca Nellis, MPP, Chief Mission Officer, Cancer and Careers. "The data continue to highlight how valuable work is - from a paycheck and benefits to the belief that work aids in treatment and recovery. Our goal is to offer vital programs and services that will eliminate fear and uncertainty for working people with cancer and their employers."
About the 2017 Survey
Cancer and Careers commissioned Harris Poll to conduct a survey to better understand the experience of cancer patients and survivors within the workplace, diagnosis disclosure and its impact in the workplace, online behaviors of cancer patients and survivors, and attitudes toward health insurance and potential policy changes. A total of 902 respondents participated in the research. Respondents were Americans 18 years of age or older and diagnosed with cancer and either currently employed (801 respondents) or unemployed, but currently looking for work (101 respondents). Interviews were conducted online between March 13 and April 7, 2017. The data were weighted to targets from the Centers of Disease Control's 2015 National Health Interview Survey data for the US age 18+ population who have been diagnosed with cancer and are either employed or not employed but looking for work.
About the 2012 Survey
Cancer and Careers commissioned Harris Poll to conduct a survey of 400 U.S. adults aged 18 and older who were diagnosed with cancer and currently employed full or part time. Interviews were conducted online between September 26 and October 3, 2012. The data were not weighted.
About Cancer and Careers
Founded in 2001, Cancer and Careers is a national nonprofit organization that empowers and educates people with cancer to thrive in their workplaces by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events—all free-of-charge. Cancer and Careers' websites in English and Spanish inform more than 365,000 visitors per year. Cancer and Careers has trained more than 3,200 oncology healthcare professionals and cancer community professionals. In 2016, the organization distributed 70,000+ publications and its services were used by 94 percent of the top 50 cancer centers in the United States. For more information, please visit www.cancerandcareers.org.
About Harris Poll
Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers' motivations and behaviors, Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. Contact us for more information.
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SOURCE Cancer and Careers