Back to Work After Cancer

Marie Keating Foundation launches ‘Back to Work After Cancer’ resource

The cancer awareness and support Foundation has written a comprehensive guide for both employers and employees dealing with returning to the workplace during or following a cancer journey

Dublin, 27th February 2019: The Marie Keating Foundation has launched a ‘Back to Work After Cancer’ booklet and training seminar to answer what they describe as ‘an unmet need’ for both employers and survivors to have comprehensive and accurate information on this sensitive topic.

According to the latest NCRI annual report, 112 Irish people are diagnosed with cancer every day and the disease causes some 8,875 deaths a year. But there are more than 170,000 people in Ireland living with and beyond cancer as survival rates improve. Support for this survivor population is needed now more than ever when dealing with the challenges ahead. One of the areas that can cause the greatest anxiety for many, is the transition back to work.

Speaking at the launch today at the Cliff Townhouse in Dublin, Marie Keating Foundation CEO, Liz Yeates said we have brought out this unique resource as we became aware that there is nothing out there to help people make the transition back to work after or during a cancer journey. Going through cancer can knock a person’s confidence and so it is imperative that the survivor and the employer have the right information and advice to ensure that the employee returning to work is supported in the correct way through that transition. We hope that this resource will enable people to successfully return to the workplace giving cancer survivors back a feeling of control, confidence and a return to normality that may have seemed so far away from the minute they heard the words ‘you have cancer’.”

The booklet, kindly supported by Novartis, details advice and tips for survivors on how to plan their return to work and how to speak to their employer about the kind of supports they may need during this time. It also provides information for employers on what to consider and how best to support an employee retuning to the workforce after or during a cancer journey.

Chambers Ireland are supporting the initiative, recognising the need for this type of resource and support for business across Ireland. President, Siobhan Kinsella says “Chambers Ireland is delighted to have been asked to partner this publication. So many businesses across our countrywide network of 41 chambers are SMEs and do not have internal HR teams to support them in navigating the complexities and sensitivities of managing a cancer diagnosis in the workplace. I want to take the opportunity to applaud the initiative taken by the Marie Keating Foundation in publishing this resource. I hope that it will foster a more widespread conversation amongst businesses nationally, particularly SMEs, around the importance of ready-to-use workplace supports that will help their staff in managing a cancer diagnosis, or indeed any illness.”

Anne Mooney, one of the survivors featured in the booklet, says “I’m glad I did a phased return to work. If I’d gone back full-time at first, I would have been overly tired. I think that’s important when anyone is returning to work after cancer. I would suggest having a good chat with your employer and decide what works both ways. I was delighted to contribute to the booklet, there isn’t enough help or support out there for cancer survivors who are facing a return to work. Having support and advice can make a huge difference to how you feel about what can be a big step.”

In addition, the Foundation has trained two of their oncology nursing team to deliver a bespoke training seminar for managers in businesses on this subject.

MKF Director of Nursing Services, Helen Forristal says “from our work in the community and also working with businesses through our corporate wellness workshops, we have heard loud and clear of the need for some sort of support for both survivors and employers in this area. As well as the booklet, we also want to offer practical help to any employers who need it. We have created a bespoke workshop for managers within companies which the Foundation’s oncology nurses can deliver it as part of our wider Corporate Wellness workshop programme. Ensuring that survivors are better supported back to work is crucial and it is amazing to see the transformative effect that a positive experience going back to work can have on them.”

The booklet is available in hard copy for free by calling 01 6283726 and it is also available for download at . To arrange a workshop on the subject of ‘Going Back to Work after Cancer’ for your business, please email [email protected]