According to Macmillan,1 in 3 (or 750,000) of the 2 million people currently living with cancer in the UK are of working age. This figure is set to rise to 1.7 million by 2030.
With cancer rates rising and Macmillan highlighting that most employees (85%) diagnosed with cancer say their work is important to them, it is likely that more employers and employees will be impacted by cancer in the coming years.
Are employers doing enough to support employees diagnosed with cancer and creating healthier workplaces for them?
Cancer in the Workplace
Last year, a report indicated that ‘sitting could be the new smoking’.
In it, researchers from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health suggesting that prolonged sitting increases the risk of serious disease, including certain forms of cancer such as lung and bowel cancer.
Cheryl Brennan, Director of Corporate Consulting at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, says, “Unfortunately, cancer will affect many employees during their working life, particularly as we are all living and working longer.”
“There is a greater recognition that the impact of cancer is wide reaching, affecting an individual’s health, their finances and family lives and, in response, more employers are treating cancer in the workplace more holistically than before”
Cheryl Brennan, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing
“Some employers are already being proactive and looking at preventative measures such as offering health screenings tailored around employee’s individual health and family medical history.”
“Other recommendations could be for them to focus on creating healthy workplace with data-led and tailored health and wellbeing programmes. They could also consider their office design and furniture and ensure there is a mix of standing and sitting desks too.”
To truly support employees with cancer, employers will need to consider many elements when reviewing their employee benefit strategies.
“With cancer rates continuing to rise, World Cancer Day and other cancer awareness days and initiatives are a timely reminder for companies to check if their policies and support are as good as they can be,” concludes Cheryl.