Working after cancer: in-depth perspectives from a setting with limited employment protection policies

Kong, Yek-Ching and Rauf, Negina and Subramaniam, Shridevi and Bustamam, Ros Suzanna and Wong, Li-Ping and Ho, Gwo-Fuang and Zaharah, Hafizah and Mellor, Matin and Yip, Cheng-Har and Bhoo-Pathy, Nirmala (2021) Working after cancer: in-depth perspectives from a setting with limited employment protection policies. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 15 (5). pp. 706-712. ISSN 1932-2259, DOI

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A considerable proportion of individuals who are diagnosed with cancer are at a working age. We aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges, and arising needs related to working after cancer in a setting with limited employment protection policies. Methods Focus group discussions were conducted with cancer patients who were diagnosed at least 1 year prior to recruitment, and either had paid work, were self-employed, currently unemployed, or currently retired (N = 66). Results Three main themes were identified: (1) loss of income: While some participants were entitled for a 1-year cancer-specific sick leave, many other participants recounted having insufficient paid sick leave, forcing them to take prolonged unpaid leave to complete treatment; (2) dealing with side effects of cancer and its treatment: The need for workplace accommodations was highlighted including flexible working hours, lighter workloads, and dedicated rest areas to enable patients to cope better; (3) Discrimination and stigma at workplace: Some participants mentioned being passed over on a promotion, getting demoted, or being forced to resign once their cancer diagnosis was disclosed, highlighting an urgent need to destigmatize cancer in the workplace. Conclusion In settings with limited employment protection policies, a cancer diagnosis severely impacts the working experiences of patients, leading to financial loss. Urgent interventions and legislative reforms are needed in these settings to address the unmet employment needs of cancer survivors. Implications for Cancer Survivors This study may facilitate planning of local solutions to fulfill the unmet employment needs following cancer, such as return-to-work navigation services.

Item Type: Article
Funders: PhAMA (Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cancer;Survivorship;Supportive care;Return to work; Employment
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RD Surgery
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2022 08:22
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2022 08:22

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