Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Cancer and Careers - Nov 14.2018 Chat

This evening we held our first discussion on Cancer and Careers. While a representative from Cancer and Careers (@cancerandcareers) was not able to join us tonight we appreciate the information they provided to us to share with our participants.

Below you will find our topic questions and a sampling of responses. You may find the transcript here and the analytics here.

T1: Did you work during treatment? What brought you to the decision to work or not work?
Providers - Do you have a sense of what percentage of your patients work during treatment? Do you discuss this with patients?

  • Many women in our community continue to work through treatment, when possible, to keep “normalcy” for themselves and their families.
  • Some gyn cancers might be though of as older women's cancers but the age range is pretty wide even if some ages more likely. Also people are working longer. Work and career is a component of cancer care that needs discussion.
  • For some patient work helps to have something other than cancer to focus on. For others it is a financial necessity and a way to stay insured.
  • Others find that taking a leave from work is helpful. We encourage women to speak with their provider about what is best.  
  • The decision to continue working or not is very variable person-to-person and even with the same chemo. Data presented at @ASCO on employment changes and healthcare use in the year after #cancer diagnosis....more in next tweet
  • 48% pts reported being employed since diagnosis. Among employed pts, 56% reported making an employment change. Most common employment changes were taking extended paid time off (53%), unpaid leave (40%), switching to a flexible schedule (29%).
  • more data on Timing of Employment changes: most were made at initial diagnosis (18.3%), during treatment (70.6%), and ≤12 months post-treatment (26.2%); 28.6% made more than one change.
T2: If you were working when you or your loved one were diagnosed, how much information did you share with your employer? 
What are some guidelines when making decisions about how much to share and when?

T3: What issues did you have if you worked during treatment? 
Are there laws to protect cancer survivors and patients in the workplace during and after treatment? How do you ask for accommodations due to your diagnosis? 

  • #cancer survivors can experience challenges in the workplace like managing side effects, deciding whether to disclose, understanding legal protections and getting the appropriate support from employers & coworkers and so much more via @CancerAndCareer
T4:What do those unable to work due to their cancer diagnosis need to know about state and federal disability laws? What are some resources in this area?
What did you find helpful?

  • States have fair employment laws, many provide additional protection beyond what federal laws offer. Check @triagecancer’s Chart of State Laws covers all of areas of Employment, Estate Planning, Disability & Health Insurance: @CancerAndCareer
  • It's important to become familiar with laws in your state regarding work during cancer treatment. Often a nurse navigator or social worker in your hospital or treatment center can help with this info.
  • Patient Advocate Foundation can help patients and their insurers, employers and creditors resolve insurance and job retention issues. 
T5: After a cancer diagnosis, how do you handle applying for a new job? What are some guidelines for if, when and how much to disclose?What has been your experience?

Remember you can join us on SmartPatients ( and continue the conversation.

We will finish up the year with a chat on Pelvic Health After a Gyn Cancer Diagnosis. Join us on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 9pmET.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Dee and Christina
#gyncsm Co-founders


Cancer and Careers

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