Employers urged to support cancer survivors beyond all-clear

RedArc and Towergate highlight the need for ongoing assistance for cancer survivors

In a society where cancer survivors are expected to return to a sense of normalcy quickly, in separate campaigns RedArc and Towergate Health & Protection are calling on insurers and employers to recognise the ongoing support needs of these individuals.

While new cancer patients receive support from various sources, including family, friends, and employers, survivors often find themselves left without adequate assistance. RedArc stresses the importance of long-term support for cancer survivors as they face lingering physical effects, psychological challenges, and the constant fear of recurrence.

RedArc, the nurse-led health and wellbeing service, is asking insurers and employers to provide the necessary tools and resources for these individuals to navigate life after cancer.

Drawing from the experiences of cancer survivors they have supported, RedArc highlights several issues that often arise after being deemed disease-free. Relationship problems with partners, indifference from once-supportive friends, and a lack of easing back into work are common challenges survivors face.

Lived experiences

The dwindling support from medical teams, coupled with feelings of isolation and a loss of purpose, can lead to listlessness and a lack of drive. Monetary concerns stemming from taking time off work and a constant association with cancer further impede survivors’ ability to move forward. The uncertainty of cancer’s return and its impact on plans, coupled with physical effects like chronic fatigue and pain, add to the long-lasting burden faced by survivors.

Christine Husbands, the commercial director for RedArc, stresses that the prevailing notion of cancer survivors effortlessly putting the disease behind them is often far from reality.

“It’s true to say that even people being treated for cancer hope this to the case, but the reality is often somewhat different. Even when the body is beginning to heal, the mind can still be fragile, and the emotional recovery can take longer than the physical one.

“Cancer can change an individual’s life irrevocably, and therefore it is vital that insurers and employers recognise this and provide for the bumps in the road that can occur in the long-term post-cancer.”

The risks of not ‘risk profiling’

Meanwhile, in support of National Cancer Survivors’ Day, Towergate Health & Protection has revealed concerning statistics regarding the lack of medical assessments offered by employers to their employees.

The research shows that only a quarter of employers (26%) provide medical assessments to evaluate their employees’ risk of serious illness, including cancer.

Risk profiling, which assesses employees’ propensity to certain health conditions, enables employers to tailor support to meet their specific needs. However, the study found that over a quarter of employers (28%) offer no risk profiling assessments at all, while a mere 36% offer a basic questionnaire regarding the risk of serious illness without any physical examination.

Highlighting the importance of early detection and lifestyle choices in preventing cancer, Towergate Health & Protection emphasises the value of risk profiling as a beneficial employee benefit. By assessing the health and wellbeing risks faced by their workforce, employers can make informed decisions and offer targeted support, ranging from alcohol and smoking cessation programmes to personalised health and fitness apps.

Tailored wellbeing support

The research also reveals the benefits of risk profiling to employers, with 38% stating that it allows them to tailor their health and wellbeing support, aligning with corporate and social responsibilities. Additionally, 36% believe that by offering a limited range of support, they can prioritise the most relevant assistance.

Recognising the advantages of tailoring support to the specific needs of their workforce, 35% of employers see risk profiling as beneficial for recruitment and retention. This approach ensures that employees at higher risk of cancer receive the necessary support and wellbeing resources.

Debra Clark, the head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, emphasises that risk profiling not only benefits employees but also provides advantages to employers and businesses. “With early detection of cancer being so key to better outcomes and lifestyle factors having such a big impact on the prevention of cancer, risk profiling is a valuable benefit for employees.”

On National Cancer Survivors’ Day, Towergate Health & Protection urges employers to consider risk profiling as a means to understand and mitigate the risks faced by their employees, emphasising the importance of supporting their wellbeing.

National Cancer Survivors’ Day serves as an opportunity to honour individuals living with a cancer history, recognising the crucial role played by their families, friends, employers, and healthcare providers.

Towergate Health & Protection calls on employers to use this occasion as a catalyst for implementing risk profiling and taking proactive steps to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their workforce, ultimately contributing to better outcomes for all.

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