Pink October: Return to work after a cancer… there is still work to be done to advance the mentalities

During a mammograhie of breast cancer screening. — SERGE POUZET/SIPA

  • The university Institute of the cancer of Toulouse and the association of The Life After have conducted two studies with 503 businesses and 818 patients with a breast cancer on the relationship ” cancer and work “.
  • 71% of companies experience difficulties in the return of their employee.
  • 30 % of patients with cancer have resumed their activity because of their loss of income.

There is a little more than a year, Marie-Pierre, commercial in a large company, left his job on the eve of his operation for cancer of the breast. “I thought I’d have for three months. But there have been complications, I had a double ablation of the breast, and then there was the reconstruction. I have not restarted yet, I’m afraid, but I’m impatient, ” says the former patient of the Institut universitaire du cancer de Toulouse (IUCT).

20% of patients dissatisfied with their recovery

Like her, many women are apprehensive about returning to work. Not always for the same reasons. Sometimes for fear of being isolated, sometimes not getting to keep pace or even to have to suffer the reproaches of their colleagues who have had to work twice as hard in his absence.

This happens in 20% of cases. It is this that reveals one of the two studies conducted on the theme “How to balance work and cancer or chronic disease” and the results of which were announced this Wednesday as part of a day of actions around
of pink October.

The association The life After, of which Marie-Pierre is a member, is responsible to relay a questionnaire from the patient via the social networks. More than 800 women with breast cancer responded.

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30 % are for financial reasons

And if fight the disease remains the centre of their concerns during their stop disease, other phenomena come to interfere with their convalescence. “In the private sector, 70 % of them lose revenue during their arrest, and 30 % indicate that they have resumed their activity for financial reasons “, points out Marie-Laure Fernandez of the association.

Survey cancer & working with patients by colin on Scribd

Without talking of patients under the self-employed scheme. “There are some who do not stop, otherwise they do not have any more revenues,” noted the professor Henri Roché, oncologist and medical director of the IUCT.

For the recovery to happen, all the same, smooth, two-thirds of the women said they were income in their part time business. But they are no more than 30 % have applied for recognition as a disabled worker, ” for fear of being stigmatized or put in the closet “.

“There is still a problem of mentality, the word slows down and scares whilst it can aid in the recovery. There are many devices but they are not well known “, says Bénédicte Blondel, president of the national association of human resources.

The difficulties of the enterprises to manage the situations

If they say they are concerned for the well-being of their employees, 71% of companies recognize in a second study conducted by the IUCT that they face difficulties to manage the retention or return to work of employees with cancer or a chronic illness.

71% of the enterprises have difficulties in the face of a situation of retention or return to work

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— ICR – IUCT Oncopole (@ClaudiusRegaud) October 11, 2017

The leaders of the 503 enterprises of the region of Occitania, who have responded think for 61 % of them as employees can re-work as before, and 51 % believe that it is possible to have a professional activity during the treatment. When 60 % of the patients consider it, they, that their period of part-time therapeutic is too short.

“It is important to understand that everything is not like before the cancer. Today, we have these results and we should use it. We can meet the needs of companies seeking for example to have more information about the pathologies, or a directory of contacts “, pleads Dorra Kanoun, oncologist responsible for the consultation (” After cancer ” at the IUCT.