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Jan 14, 2014

Finding flexible work difficult for cancer patients, caregivers

18 per cent of patients, 49 per cent of caregivers have difficulty finding flex work options
    
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Cancer patients — and their caregivers — are having difficulty finding flexible work, according to a national survey by Sanofi Canada.

Eighteen per cent of cancer patients have difficulty finding flexible work options while they’re battling the disease, while close to one-half (49 per cent) of caregivers struggle to fit caring for their loved one into their work schedule.

Many caregivers reported they felt forced to choose between work and caring for their loved one. Some were forced to take time off work or prevented from moving for work. Cancer caregiving was a major source of financial stress, but it also took a toll on lifestyle and emotional outlook, found the survey.

“With a growing elderly population reliant on a younger workforce, we need to keep measuring our progress in supporting people with cancer and developing new solutions,” said Jon Fairest, president and CEO of Sanofi Canada.

“It is critical for all members of the healthcare continuum, to find new ways — big and small, simple or complex — to help patients better manage their lives as well as to ease the caregiver burden. Cancer management is not only costly to our health system; it also significantly impairs individuals who make up a highly productive segment of our workforce and economy.”

Two in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Caregivers to cancer patients were predominantly female, found the study, and most are under 54 years old (69 per cent). However, patient are predominantly 55 and over (75 per cent).

Many caregivers reported they received no significant outside help in their caregiving.

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