work. Resources available include private short- and long-term disability insurance, available to a minority of employees as a benefit of employment, and income support through the Social Security Administration to those who are disabled.

Recommendation 8: Employers, legal advocates, health care providers, sponsors of support services, and government agencies should act to eliminate discrimination and minimize adverse effects of cancer on employment, while supporting cancer survivors with short-term and long-term limitations in ability to work.

  • Cancer professionals, advocacy organizations, and the National Cancer Institute and other government agencies should continue to educate employers and the public about the successes achieved in cancer treatment, the improved prospects for survival, and the continuing productivity of most patients who are treated for cancer.

  • Public and private sponsors of services to support cancer survivors and their families should finance programs offering education, counseling, support, legal advice, vocational rehabilitation, and referral for survivors who want to work.

  • Providers who care for cancer survivors should become familiar with the employment rights that apply to survivors who want to work and make available information about employment rights and programs that provide counseling, legal services, and referral.

  • Providers should routinely ask patients who are cancer survivors if they have physical or mental health problems that are affecting their work, with the goal of improving symptoms and referring patients for rehabilitative and other services.

  • Employers should implement programs to assist cancer survivors. Examples include short- and long-term disability insurance, return-to-work programs, wellness programs, accommodation of special needs, and employee assistance programs.

  • Cancer survivors should tell their physicians when health problems are affecting them at work. Survivors should educate themselves about their employment rights and contact support organizations for assistance and referrals when needed.

The health insurance issues facing cancer survivors bring into sharp focus the gaps and limitations of health insurance in the United States. All Americans are at risk of becoming a cancer survivor and finding themselves without access to adequate and affordable health insurance. Cancer survivors, like other Americans with serious, chronic health conditions, face significant barriers to coverage because of their health status. In particular, access to individual health insurance may be denied to residents in many



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement