Tens of thousands of cancer sufferers want to work but are held back due to lack of support, a charity has warned.
There are an estimated 63,000 people living with cancer want to work but are encountering barriers which prevent them doing so, according to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres.
Maggie's said that businesses need to "keep pace with medical advances" as many employees will be affected by cancer.
Lesley Howells, lead of research at the charity, said: "Many people living with cancer aren't able or don't want to work after treatment, but for those who can and choose to, it can be vital to their psychological wellbeing.
"People with cancer who use our centres tell us work provides a focus outside of their illness, and can help build a sense of normality, security, structure and purpose.
"It's vital that employers provide the right support for an employee returning to work with cancer.
"This involves maintaining ongoing, meaningful communication and gaining and demonstrating better understanding.
"But employers also need support - they are looking to the person with cancer to set the tone and need more guidance from them on what they need, as everyone's experiences are different."
Maggie’s are launching a partnership with Unum – who work with businesses on industry-leading workplace rehabilitation, and pooling their expertise to provide support to address the barriers facing both employers and people living with cancer through educational events and resources taking place in nine Maggie’s centres across the UK throughout 2013.
Joy Reymond, Head of Rehabilitation & Health Management Services at Unum, said:
“Employers want to do the right thing by their staff, but are often stumbling in the dark, without guidance. The role of the line manager too cannot be underestimated.
The report shows they often have the biggest impact on someone’s experience of working with cancer because they are often the main contact the employee has with their employer. Our partnership with Maggie’s aims to give employers the support they need, including ways they can educate staff at all levels to approach this in the right way.
"With the right support and guidance these barriers can be overcome, and those living with cancer who choose to work can do so, avoiding the ‘triple whammy’ effect and benefitting society as a whole.”
For more information on the events and resources, please visit maggiescentres.org/workingaftercancer
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