October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Managing Cancer in the Workplace
In 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. and roughly 2,710 new cases expected to be diagnosed in men. Currently, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. It is the second most common type of cancer among women in our country; skin cancer is first.
Many myths about breast cancer exist, including the common belief that breast cancer only happens to middle-aged and older women. However, it is a fact that younger women and as mentioned above, men as well, can and do get breast cancer.
With the onset of Covid 19 in 2020, employers found themselves suddenly dealing with employees who battled a range of Covid-related illnesses. As a result, many companies have been reassessing how they can best support employees confronting serious health challenges, such as long-Covid, cancer and other debilitating illnesses. Covid reminded us that at any given time, employees can unexpectedly become sick, face a chronic condition, or need a variety of treatments in order to improve their health, and in some cases, to survive.
Many surveys have revealed that employees do actually want to continue to work, even when they have a serious medical issue, like cancer. Surveys of U.S. cancer patients and survivors who were employed when diagnosed (or who were unemployed but looking for work following their diagnosis), found that 75 percent of survey respondents said working through treatment helps or had helped them to cope with their cancer.
There are many strategies that employers can take to support their staff who are encountering a serious illness. Really listening to the needs of your employee(s) and determining how they would like to handle the situation is a great place to start. An organization called Workplace Transitions created step-by-step instructions and a comprehensive tool kit to help employers manage employees dealing with cancer in the workplace and also support employees during this challenging time while still continuing to work.
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