Cancer and Careers: Understanding the Professional Needs of Young Survivors

Younger cancer patients and survivors deal with a deluge of information during medical treatment. In addition to this new, almost full-time job, survivors also have to balance their professional lives. Many of the same young patients who must make fertility choices quickly after a cancer diagnosis also have to contemplate their career, such as the decision to tell employers about their medical status or take an extended leave from work.

 

In 2001, a group of executive professionals in the cosmetic industry got together and realized that many of them had received a cancer diagnosis. These career professionals had all modified their career paths without the support of others who had experienced similar barriers. They decided to form a new advocacy group, called Cancer and Careers, to empower and educate people with cancer and help them thrive professionally while also beating cancer.

 

Cancer and Careers now provides on-line, teleconference, and in-person career coaching to thousands of professionals. The group provides legal, financial, and organizational information to both survivors and their coworkers during cancer treatment. In addition they help survivors with resume coaching, such as explaining a gap in employment, during job hunting.

 

Cancer and Careers puts on local and national events for cancer survivors with job issues, questions, or just looking for a community of like-minded people. In a few weeks, the group will host an evening in Chicago for working women, The Beauty of Caring Event, to provide career, beauty, and wellness tips to these inspiring survivors. The event, on Wednesday, June 1 will provide guidance for women to look and feel as good as possible on the job.

 

Later in June, the group is holding their National Conference on Work and Cancer in New York City. The free meeting on June 17th will include sessions on legal issues (including health insurance), job re-entry, and a special discussion on the career challenges of young adults.