NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seventy-three percent of cancer patients and survivors want to work, but 59 percent who worked through treatment felt they had no choice, according to new national survey results from Cancer and Careers, the only U.S. organization dedicated solely to serving the growing population of people working during and after cancer treatment.
The online survey, conducted among 913 cancer patients and survivors in the U.S. between May 6 – June 3, 2015 by Harris Poll on behalf of Cancer and Careers, was designed to better understand the needs and attitudes of currently employed and unemployed U.S. cancer patients and survivors. Results show nearly three in four patients and survivors agree they want to work; however, working and searching for work can be challenging after a cancer diagnosis.
Sixty-nine percent of patients and survivors agreed that work aids in treatment and recovery, but reported a number of concerns when balancing work and cancer. According to those who are currently working and in treatment, some of the most common challenges include fatigue (42%), managing discomfort from physical post-treatment side effects (26%) and taking longer to complete work tasks (23%). Nearly three in 10 (29%) people in treatment feel they haven't advanced as quickly and the same percentage (29%) say they stayed at their jobs longer than they wanted because of their diagnosis. In addition, 38 percent said cancer negatively impacted their long-term career goals.
Looking for work can present as many challenges as working through a diagnosis and treatment. Sixty-one percent of survivors looking for a job said they fear disclosing their cancer diagnosis will negatively affect their chances of getting hired, a directional increase from 50 percent in 2014. Though less than one in 10 (9%) of cancer patients and survivors have been asked about their cancer diagnosis during an interview, 31 percent of those who have been on an interview since their original cancer diagnosis have been asked an inappropriate or illegal interview question regarding their health.
"As a cancer survivor who worked through the majority of my treatment, I know the significance it can have during this challenging time," said Tara Cernacek. "Having a support system and resources helped me maintain a professional identity and was key to helping me transition careers after treatment."
Additional survey highlights include:
Seventy-three percent of employed survivors surveyed reported that working during treatment helped them cope.
Sixty-eight percent of employed survivors surveyed reported their primary reason for continuing to work during treatment was financial concerns.
More employed women (39%) than men (30%) report their work negatively impacts their treatment; however, more women (78%) than men (66%) feel working during treatment helped them cope with their cancer.
Of those who are working and who underwent treatment, more women (63%) face challenges than men (50%), and are more likely (20%) to work a reduced schedule (13%).
People of color are more likely to report negative impacts on work and treatment than their white counterparts, with 22 percent versus 11 percent feeling work took away from the time they needed to focus on recovery. Eighteen percent of people of color were advised by a healthcare professional who treated their cancer to stop working during treatment compared to nine percent of white counterparts.
"While work gives many cancer patients and survivors a sense of purpose and normalcy, without the proper resources, balancing it with a cancer diagnosis can often be overwhelming," said Rebecca Nellis, MPP, Chief Mission Officer, Cancer and Careers. "Survivors need to be prepared with the right knowledge and tools to help them navigate workplace challenges and get the support they need."
Sixty-one percent of people living with cancer and cancer survivors surveyed agree resources and support programs are needed to address workplace concerns. As part of its ongoing commitment to cancer survivors in and looking to enter the workforce, Cancer and Careers offers numerous free resources and programs around the country. These include a resume review service, online career coaching, publications and ongoing webinars and events to help survivors understand their rights, prepare for work and get the support they need. Cancer and Careers creates innovative new programs based on the needs seen in the cancer community, such as micro-grants providing financial assistance for professional development to enhance or build new skills, and a pilot program offering survivors who need help organizing their finances access to experts who can provide guidance on where to start.
About the Survey Cancer and Careers commissioned Harris Poll to conduct a survey to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of U.S. cancer survivors and patients who worked during treatment, as well as unemployed cancer survivors and patients currently looking for work. A total of 913 respondents participated in the research. Respondents were Americans 18 years of age or older, diagnosed with cancer and either employed or unemployed but looking for work. Interviews were conducted online between May 6 and June 3, 2015. Data were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region household income to reflect the composition of U.S. adults who are employed or not employed, but looking for work.
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. Cancer and Careers' websites in English and Spanish inform nearly 300,000 visitors per year. Cancer and Careers has trained more than 2,300 oncology healthcare professionals, and its services are used by 92 percent of the top cancer centers in the United States. The organization also distributed more than 45,000 publications in English and in Spanish in 2014. 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.