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Supporting cancer survivors in the workplace

Supporting cancer survivors in the workplace

‘Cancer survivors face a multitude of challenges post-treatment,’ notes Dr. Holger. ‘Treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can cause physical disabilities such as chronic pain or reduced mobility.’

In addition to these physical adversities, survivors grapple with mental health issues and cognitive changes, often experiencing memory lapses and difficulty concentrating due to the effects of chemotherapy. ‘There’s also the added pressure of exorbitant medical bills, which can cause significant financial strain,’ adds Dr. Holger.

Effective communication is key
‘Clear and timely communication between survivors and their employers is crucial,’ emphasises Dr. Holger. ‘Open dialogue about diagnosis, treatment plans and return-to-work dates with supervisors or HR representatives is essential for fostering understanding and support in the workplace.’

Navigating workplace accommodations
‘Employers should be proactive in offering adjustments, such as flexible work schedules and modified responsibilities,’ advises Dr. Holger. This support can help ease survivors' transition back to work and address their ongoing health needs.

Leveraging healthcare support
‘Primary healthcare providers play a vital role in monitoring survivors' well-being post-treatment,’ notes Dr. Holger. ‘Regular check-ins, symptom management guidance and coordination of care among specialists are essential for supporting survivors as they navigate their return to work.’

Creating a supportive work environment
‘To foster a supportive workplace,’ Dr. Holger suggests, ‘Implement awareness initiatives, flexible policies and manager training. Peer support groups and cancer-specific wellness programmes provide additional resources and solidarity for survivors within the workplace.’

Accessing external support networks
Dr. Holger also emphasises the importance of tapping into external support networks for guidance and assistance. ‘Survivors should seek resources from local healthcare networks and survivor support groups to navigate their return to work successfully,’ he advises.

Supporting cancer survivors in the workplace requires a multifaceted approach. By implementing effective communication, workplace accommodations, healthcare support, and fostering a culture of understanding, employers can create environments where survivors can thrive professionally while managing their ongoing health needs with confidence.

For more information or support related to the physical health of employees, let us help you. Email, call (+27) 86 123 4123 to speak to one of our business development managers, or visit our website. Life Oncology is a dedicated oncology and radiotherapy service under the Life Healthcare network. Find out more here.

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