Poster Presentation FCIC Survivorship Conference 2013

Cancer Survivorship: Employment and Return to Work – An Australian report (#62)

Jillian Mills 1 , Annie Miller , Gill Batt
  1. Cancer Council NSW, Woolloomooloo, NSW, Australia

In Australia, in 2007, 775,000 (3.6%) of people had a history of cancer and the five year survival rate for all cancers has increased to 66% for the 2006 to 2010 period.  Young cancer survivors often experience chronic health conditions into adulthood, requiring specific attention and adult onset cancer survivors often experience co-morbid health conditions.  Cancer survivors are often overwhelmed at the prospect of maintaining their current job or returning to work and the risk of becoming unemployed rises by 37%.  A review of the literature was conducted, peer reviewed journal articles and reliable websites were accessed examining the issues of cancer survivorship, employment and return to work.  Articles were sourced from MEDLINE (Ovid: January 2005 to September 2012), Psychinfo (Ovid: January 2005 to September 2012), and Google Scholar (September 2012).  Many cancer survivors experience persistent physical and psychological issues, with new issues related to employment occurring.  Returning to work is an important milestone in recovery, restoring a sense of self, normalcy and control.  Improving occupational motivation and reducing skepticism regarding returning to work have been identified as important factors to consider when providing interventions, with education and self efficacy facilitating increased rates of return to work.  Maximising opportunities for return to work is important, however major limitations have been identified in the research literature and much work is still required to inform service delivery and health policy.  Cancer Council NSW is preparing literature addressing the return to work issues of legal rights, communication with employers and colleagues and an interactive return to work resource for job seekers.  The provision of specific work related counselling and an online forum are also being scoped.