Survey: Majority of Cancer Patients, Survivors Want To Keep Working

New York — March 5

Nearly 80 percent of cancer patients and survivors say continuing work after diagnosis aids recovery, according to a new survey from Cancer and Careers and Harris Interactive. Still, just as many respondents struggle to find support navigating the work-life balance of employment with cancer.

Cancer and Careers designed the survey with Harris Interactive to better understand and empower employed persons with cancer. Results indicate that several factors motivate cancer survivors to continue working — including feeling well, wanting to maintain a routine and wanting to be productive.

At the same time, 67 percent of surveyed cancer patients and survivors said work-life balance was critical to having a career.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there were an estimated 13.7 million Americans with a history of cancer as of Jan. 1, 2012, and roughly 1.6 million new cases are expected to be diagnosed this year.

With more than 80 percent of cancer survivors returning to work after treatment, understanding the needs of the working patient is becoming more important.

Additional survey highlights include:

More than half (60 percent) of survey respondents reported taking no time off or only a few days off before returning to work after diagnosis.

Those newly diagnosed or currently in treatment were most eager to continue work. Almost three-quarters (73 percent) felt employment gave them a sense of purpose and was tied to their identity.

Roughly 20 percent of the newly diagnosed or those currently in treatment also reported feeling that cancer prevented them from carrying out professional responsibilities, reaching their true potential or performing at the same level as their peers.

Source: Cancer and Careers