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Cancer and Employment Issues: Perspectives from Cancer Patient Navigators
  • Published Date:
    Sep 2017
  • Source:
    J Cancer Educ. 32(3):460-466.
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-73.64 KB]

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  • Description:
    Among individuals diagnosed with cancer, 40 % are working-age adults who will face numerous challenges in returning to work, yet oncology providers report limited guidance and uncoordinated communication processes in addressing patients' work-related issues. Cancer patient navigators are uniquely positioned to fill this care and communication gap due to their focus on both practical matters and clinical care. This cross-sectional study utilized survey methodology to collect quantitative and qualitative data from 58 cancer patient navigators to (1) identify patients' cancer and employment issues that commonly challenge navigators and (2) identify the necessary training navigators felt would allow them to more effectively help patients deal with cancer and employment issues. Participants from the southeast USA were invited to complete a paper survey while in attendance at a statewide cancer patient navigator conference or online via the state comprehensive cancer coalition's cancer patient navigator listserv. Results suggest financial burdens, work and treatment conflicts, taking unpaid leave for cancer care, and working through treatment were common concerns among their patients. Navigators also identified employment, legal, government programs, and financial resources as important training and education topics that would help them address their clients' employment and cancer conflicts. Given the fact that employment issues remain one of the most common unmet need of survivors and the increasing presence of navigators across the USA, it is important to address the role of navigators in meeting patients' needs regarding cancer and employment and ensure they are provide with adequate training and resources.

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