Work life for many cancer survivors never the same

Almost half of working Queensland cancer survivors have been negatively affected in their jobs as a result of their diagnosis, new research shows.

Cancer Council Queensland’s 1000 Survivor Study is an Australian-first project, assessing the physical, emotional and practical concerns of cancer survivors.

The survey found the majority of cancer survivors who had work concerns (66 per cent) did not receive help following their diagnosis.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said that of those cancer survivors with work concerns, about half were unable to work in the same way as before their diagnosis.

“More than one in three had difficulty returning to work, and 30 per cent were unable to work full time after being treated for cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“What’s perhaps most concerning is that only a small number of cancer survivors experiencing difficulty sought help for it.

“The study also showed that education levels influenced whether care was received.

“Those who reported higher levels of education, including trade certifications or university degrees, were more likely to receive care for their work concern.

“Cancer survivors who had completed high school certificates or lower, and who had work issues, were the least likely to reach out and receive help for those concerns.”

Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is staffed by health professionals to offer support to all Queenslanders affected by cancer – whether their concern is physical, emotional or practical.

“We’re encouraging Queensland cancer survivors who have been negatively affected in their job as a result of their diagnosis to get in touch with us,” Ms Clift said.

“Cancer Council can offer the emotional and practical support that is needed, including referrals to our free statewide Cancer Counselling Service, which provides phone or face-to-face counselling.

“Those who are struggling to deal with cancer-related work concerns require the support of their employers, colleagues, and the community.

“We encourage those affected to reach out for support and advice.”

The 1000 Survivor Study was undertaken in 2014 and surveyed 1030 men and women to better understand the physical, emotional and practical concerns of cancer survivors in Queensland.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171