Cancer survivors face increased workplace discrimination

6.8.17

Surviving cancer is tough enough. But as many cancer patients make their way back to work, they also face discrimination at the hands of their employers.

A recent study found that approximately four in 10 people returning to work after cancer treatment had been unfairly treated. Of the 168 adults surveyed, “37 percent of people returning to work after cancer treatment experienced some kind of discrimination from their employer or colleagues.”

Workplace discrimination against cancer patients comes in many different forms – with some being more obvious than others. Common examples include assuming that an employee will be less capable or productive, denying an employee time off for medical treatment, passing over an employee for promotions or not including an employee in training or decision-making opportunities, among others.

As cancer patients and survivors experience increased discrimination in the workplace, protecting their rights through advocacy and raising disease awareness has never been more important.

Thankfully, patients, families, advocacy groups and elected officials are taking concrete steps to raise disease awareness and advocate for cancer survivors.

On June 4, hundreds of communities throughout the United States and around the world came together for the 30th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day. The worldwide events seek to celebrate those who have survived cancer, inspire those who were recently diagnosed, provide a supportive community for families and help spread cancer awareness.

United States Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a breast cancer survivor, was one of many to highlight the importance of National Cancer Survivors Day.

“Like so many others, my own diagnosis and the challenging experiences that followed it, forever changed me,” she said in an official statement. “Once I was cancer-free, it was also clear that I had to re-double my efforts to helping other young women who faced the same daunting challenge. … I ask you to join me in this same fight, and stand with love, support and solidarity with all my fellow survivors.”

No matter the patient, the Chronic Disease Coalition seeks to prevent disease discrimination in the workplace, in schools and by health insurers. Take a stand today and join the effort to protect the rights of patients living with chronic and life-threatening diseases.