Progressive companies are caring for workers who are cancer patients and survivors like never before
In order to maintain financial stability, a growing number of employees under medical care are faced with balancing their illness with their career. As well, an increasing number of them are having to assume caregiving roles for family members.
Reduced productivity during treatment and recovery for employees with cancer and for those caring for loved ones will have a significant impact on the labor pool. Facing the potential loss of a valuable member of your workforce and the struggle to contain health care costs, it’s time to learn more about how your company can support employees going through cancer treatment.
There are more than 15.5 million Americans with a history of cancer alive today—nearly half are between 19 and 64 years old—indicating there are more employees under medical care for cancer in the workplace than ever before.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2018 and approximately 609,000 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2018 which translates to about 1,670 deaths per day.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease. As the frequency of the diagnosis’ have increased, so has the need for corporate sponsored comprehensive health improvement programs.
As part of an effort to develop a culture of support with regards to the cancer patient, caregiver and survivor, employers should consider implementing a structured health improvement program. Its scope should be comprehensive, and the services should address the needs of the specific population.
Working with cancer patients and survivors demands kindness, compassion and extensive knowledge of exercise oncology by the provider. Certified practitioners have specialized schooling and therefore, they have the hands-on skills needed to guide patients safely through treatment, into recovery and long-term survivorship.
The health improvement program staff should have functional training and skills regarding the cognitive, emotional, and physical issues associated with cancer patients. They must be trained to understand the entire cancer process from diagnosis and treatment through reconstruction and survivorship.
Because each patients experience will be unique and personal, wellness programs that are designed to meet their specific needs are imperative to successfully enhance the health of the individual. Assisting the survivor rehabilitate both physically and emotionally, a certified cancer practitioner can help to restore their strength as they enter into the healing phase of their lives.
Primarily because of the tobacco epidemic during the 20th century, cancer deaths peaked in 1991 to 215 cancer deaths per 100,000 people. Because of the reduction in smoking and the improvements in early detection and treatment, as of 2015, the rate has dropped to 159 per 100,000—a decline of 26%. This decrease translates into more than 2.3 million fewer cancer deaths from 1991 to 2015.
It’s crucial that employers help manage and support employees that have been diagnosed with cancer through health improvement programs. By providing them with wellness resources you will reassure them that they can return to work as valued and gainful employees.
Many cancer patients not only worry about the loss of financial compensation and health insurance, but they also look to you, the employer, for social support and a sense of purpose. Look at your workforce as individuals; many can’t imagine how they would make it if you weren’t aware of how your company can support employees going through cancer treatment.
I am a corporate wellness consultant. As a master yoga instructor, I support in-house wellness programs, seminars, trade shows and executive retreats. I help business leaders build and maintain physical and mental well-being. If you would like to learn more about offering a health and fitness program to your busy management team contact me at [email protected] or 386.871.0582
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