Vanderpool, R., Nichols, H., Hoffler, E. & Swanberg, J. (2015). Cancer and Employment Issues: Perspectives from Cancer Patient Navigators. Journal of Cancer Education, 2015 December Online Advance Publication.
Among individuals diagnosed with cancer, 40 % are working-age adults who will face numerous challenges in returning to work, yet oncology providers report limited guidance and uncoordinated communication processes in addressing patients’ work-related issues. Cancer patient navigators are uniquely positioned to fill this care and communication gap due to their focus on both practical matters and clinical care. This cross-sectional study utilized survey methodology to collect quantitative and qualitative data from 58 cancer patient navigators to (1) identify patients’ cancer and employment issues that commonly challenge navigators and (2) identify the necessary training navigators felt would allow them to more effectively help patients deal with cancer and employment issues. Participants from the southeast USA were invited to complete a paper survey while in attendance at a statewide cancer patient navigator conference or online via the state comprehensive cancer coalition’s cancer patient navigator listserv. Results suggest financial burdens, work and treatment conflicts, taking unpaid leave for cancer care, and working through treatment were common concerns among their patients. Navigators also identified employment, legal, government programs, and financial resources as important training and education topics that would help them address their clients’ employment and cancer conflicts. Given the fact that employment issues remain one of the most common unmet need of survivors and the increasing presence of navigators across the USA, it is important to address the role of navigators in meeting patients’ needs regarding cancer and employment and ensure they are provide with adequate training and resources.
Vanderpool R.,Swanberg J., & Chambers M. (2013). A Narrative Review of the Confluence of Breast Cancer and Low-Wage Employment and Its Impact on Receipt of Guideline-Recommended Treatment. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2, 75-85.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer among women in the US. Despite improvements in screening and treatment, breast cancer treatment and survivorship disparities exist among various groups of women. One variable that is unexplored as a possible contributor to breast cancer treatment disparities is employment. Characteristics of low-wage work—limited paid time off, minimal health benefits, schedule inflexibility, and economic insecurity—may become even more significant in the event of a breast cancer diagnosis. There has been limited research into how conditions of low-wage jobs may influence working poor survivors’ receipt of breast cancer treatment. The purpose of this narrative review was to critically examine the current literature to further our understanding of how employment context may impact treatment decisions and adherence—and therefore receipt of guideline-recommended care—among newly diagnosed, working poor breast cancer survivors. We failed to identify any published literature that explicitly addressed low-wage employment and receipt of guideline-recommended breast cancer treatment. Future policy, practice, and research efforts should focus on the employment context of working poor breast cancer survivors as a contributor to cancer disparities. Engagement of women, employers, oncology providers, healthcare systems, and researchers is warranted to improve cancer outcomes among working poor women.