Living and working with cancer
We responded to the Government’s consultation on their strategy for the next ten years of cancer care and treatment.
We are keen that living with cancer is not seen as being a policy issue for the health setting only. For example, many people living with cancer also work, need to use the benefits system, and navigate insurance products, too. In addition, employment policies, such as flexible working and carer’s leave, that are being developed in other areas of Government also have a huge impact on the lives of people living with cancer. We also want the future of cancer treatment and care to have an appropriate person-centred language and narrative, and for treatment not to be seen as the ‘end’ for the many people living with cancer who continue to pursue careers and other life ambitions after diagnosis and treatment.
Our consultation response covers the following issues:
- The language and narrative used to talk about cancer.
- Improving the experience of receiving a cancer diagnosis.
- The lack of resources in the NHS.
- The role of employer-provided Private Medical Insurance (PMI).
- The lack of mental health support for people with cancer.
- The role of working flexibly, not just flexible working.
- Appropriate use of occupational health.
- Not forgetting partners and carers of people living with cancer.
- The benefits system.
- Life beyond or with treatment.
We spoke to people living with cancer and people who are close to those living with cancer to help inform our response to this consultation. In doing so, some clear ‘tips’ of advice for how employers could better support employees living with cancer or employees who are close to someone living with cancer emerged. We have therefore created a policy briefing for employers to help them put these ‘tips’ into action.
The policy briefing for employers therefore covers:
- Being a supportive manager.
- Ensuring flexible processes during what is usually an unpredictable experience when an employee has cancer is or close to someone who has cancer.
- The appropriate time to engage occupational health advice.
- Knowing what is included in employer-provided PMI and Group Income Protection (GIP) products.
- What the most helpful workplace adjustments were for people with cancer we spoke to.
- How ‘social’ and diverse teams are usually the most supportive.
Our consultation response and the policy briefing for employers can be downloaded at the right-hand side of this page.
Thank you to the employees living with cancer and the employees who are close to someone living with cancer who shared their very personal stories with our policy team.