Corporate world fails to catch up with changing cancer survival rates

A BBC article recently raised the issue of cancer survivors and the world of work.

With cancer survival rates improving dramatically, more and more people continue to work through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but the working world takes little account of their special needs.

Over 90,000 people of working age have cancer in Great Britain, but the world of work hasn’t altered its perspective from the time when a diagnosis of cancer was a death sentence.

Cancer sufferers naturally get very fatigued, partly due to the illness, partly due to the treatment, and require shorter days (the British work the longest hours in Europe, which doesn’t help). They would also benefit from working fewer days a week and a long, gradual return to full-time working. The article highlights the case of one woman who, in the absence of a personnel department, devised her own schedule for returning to work but quickly overloaded herself – she ended up signed off with depression and only now, three years later, has she returned to full-time working.

It is indicative of how the male-dominated world of work still doesn’t actually take account of how real people live – of the fact that women get pregnant and give birth, that people have children and need to pick them up from school or stay home to care for them when they are sick. There are few job shares available in the UK, and the provision for working from home remains paltry, despite study after study showing that people who work from home at least one day per week are more efficient than their full-time colleagues. The majority of part-time workers are women, and they have no right to equal pay. There is no national provision for childcare.

Still, at least the issue of cancer and work is now being raised, which is something. Though given the attitude to work and the materialistic culture in the UK, heaven knows how long it will be before there are any guidelines implemented.

For more details, read the article here.

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