Cancer Awareness for Employers

  • Why should employers be concerned about cancer in their workforce?
    • During their lifetimes, half of men and a third of women will be diagnosed with cancer, but virtually everyone will be touched by cancer in some way.
    • Because of advances that have been made in diagnosis and treatment, cancer is increasingly becoming a chronic illness, with longer term effects on employees and on the workplace.
    • The cost of cancer treatment is typically among the top three most costly conditions representing, on average, 12% of total medical expenses. What's more, the cost of treatment is rising faster than general medical costs.
    • Cancer is one of the leading causes of both short- and long-term disability.
    • Over 25% of employees are acting as caregivers to family members who are experiencing an illness, including cancer.
    (Source: NBGH Employers Guide to Cancer Treatment and Prevention)

The Business Case for Cancer Screening
  • Managing Cancer at the Workplace
    This guide provides employers with practical ways to support employees who have cancer, as well as those who are taking care of the family member with the disease. The guide is divided into three parts: The Business Case; Four Major Types of Cancer; and Strategies for Managing Cancer in the Workplace.

    Copies of this guide are available at the National Business Group on Health or by contacting them at for more information.
  • An Employer’s Guide to Cancer Treatment and Prevention
    A new guide from the National Business Group on Health providing details and recommendations on what should be included in a comprehensive benefit plan; what your EAP should be providing; the health promotion and preventive services to be offered; and other areas to address cancer in the workforce.
  • An Employer’s Guide to Preventive Services – Breast Cancer
  • Questions About Cancer in the Workplace and the American Disabilities Act
  • Information for Employers on Cancer
  • Cancer Survivors at Work


How Employers can help workers with cancer
  • In the face of many challenges to a cancer survivor's productivity, there are a number of resources that the employer can draw upon. Employee assistance programs, disease management and wellness services can help.

  • Clear communication between the employee, the employer and the oncology team can be critical in developing a successful work prescription.

  • Other responses to productivity barriers that an employer can focus on include:
    • Coaching and providing feedback on performance
    • Providing for flexibility at the work station
    • Allowing time and space for breaks
    • Planning most productive work schedules around worst fatigue and pain times
    • Defining solutions for specific job task issues, such as checklists to ensure accuracy

(Source: Unum Group)

Services that help overcome the obstacles

Cancer survivors who return to the workplace are often coming back from disability leave. That can present an opportunity for the employee and the employer. When choosing a disability insurance carrier, look for a provider who can offer an effective return-to-work program as part of the disability plan.

Return-to-work programs offer the services of vocational rehabilitation specialists, vocational counselors, physicians, nurses, disability benefit specialists and other professionals who can overcome initial obstacles to productivity. The expertise to manage worksite accommodation, retraining and other services support the employee's safe and timely return to work.

Also look for an insurance carrier that provides expert Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) services. Individuals who are fighting cancer may use FMLA for intermittent or extended medical leave, and some providers are qualified to take the burden off of the employer by managing FMLA administration.

(Source: Unum Group)