Cancer Patients and Survivors Want to Work but Face Challenges

This week the CEO of Goldman Sachs announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and would continue to work while receiving treatment.  Whether one remains at/returns to work after a cancer diagnosis depends greatly on an individual’s situation, but an online survey of American cancer patients and survivors found the majority (73 percent) want to work, citing financial concerns but also the belief that working helps in their overall recovery.

According to the survey, conducted by the Harris Poll for Cancer and Careers, although most respondents enjoy working, they also face challenges balancing their health needs with the workplace. For example, women were more likely than men to report working a reduced schedule due to treatment, and people of color were more likely to be advised by a medical professional to stop working while in treatment. Other findings from the poll,

  • fatigue was the primary daily challenge of employed respondents,
  • 20 percent have concerns that taking days off will weaken their employment stability, and
  • 65 percent feel that additional information is needed around navigating employment and workplace issues after a cancer diagnosis.

Additional data from the study is at the Cancer and Careers website, along with a resource library and employment search services and tools.