Female Cancer Victims Need More Workplace Help

September 30, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Only 1% of working women with cancer consider their employer a source of information or support in coping with their illness, a new survey found.

A news release said that the national survey conducted by Harris Interactive and initiated by Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation’s Cancer and Careers program found that fewer than 30% of women surveyed were satisfied with the level of support they’ve received from their company’s human resources department.

Respondents reported experiencing treatment-related fatigue (77%), nausea (61%) and hair loss (58%) that, for many, interfered with their comfort at work. Sizeable minorities also reported increased absenteeism (20%) and reductions in their work or work schedule (27%), the survey found.

Nearly three-fourths of women express a desire for treatment less intrusive to a working woman’s lifestyle. Specifically, 86% of women say they would prefer an oral chemotherapy treatment to intravenous administration for reasons including convenience and fewer side effects.

“Our survey shows that, despite their stoic attitude, women with cancer often struggle with physical, emotional and other issues in the workplace,” said Carlotta Jacobson, President of Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation, a group of beauty industry executives, in the news release. “With more than one in six working women destined to develop cancer, it’s essential that employers find a way to better address their needs. “

To help meet that need, the Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation’s Cancer and Careers program is a resource for working women with cancer and their employers. The program’s Web site, http://www.cancerandcareers.org , includes more than one hundred online articles, downloadable tools, charts and checklists, and a searchable database of more than 400 cancer resources.

To complete the survey, 285 employed, adult women (ages 18+) who have been diagnosed with cancer were recruited and screened from an online panel through market research firm Harris Interactive. Respondents completed a self-administered online questionnaire between October 14 and 21, 2004. On average, the questionnaire took 15 minutes to complete.