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Campaigns require stronger rights to work for people living with breast cancer

Brussels, Belgium: Campaigns urge EU parliamentarians to make it easier for people with advanced breast cancer to return to work…

Brussels, Belgium: Campaigns urge EU parliamentarians to make it easier for people with advanced breast cancer to return to work and to properly support them with flexible work arrangements.

At an event in the European Union, Parliament today (Wednesday), hosted by MEP Lieve Wierinck, members of the Global Alliance for Breast Cancer (ABC) led political decision makers that the financial burden on breast cancer not only covers the direct cost of treatments , but also the indirect cost of productivity loss when people living with advanced diseases who can and are willing to continue to work, can not because of insufficient understanding of their illness or direct or indirect discrimination.

Chair of ABC Global Alliance, Dr. Fatima Cardoso, from the Champalimaud Clinical Center in Lisbon, Portugal, said: “Most people with breast cancer are the economically most productive years in their lives: 40, 50, and 60’s. Being able to work is bad for them, not only economically but also emotional and psychological and it is also bad for society. There are many studies now showing the indirect costs of cancer due to lack of pductivity are actually greater than the direct costs. If these people can continue to work and be productive, it will be much better for society as a whole. “

Breast cancer is the most common diagnosis of cancer all over the world, which mainly affects women, but also some men. Over two million new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 201

8 and nearly 630,000 people will die of it, almost anything from advanced or metastatic disease that has spread to other parts of the body. About 6.8 million people are either breast cancer survivors or currently living with advanced disease, many of whom may and want to work.

“Making it difficult or impossible for these people to continue working causes a huge loss in economic productivity in society,” says Dr. Cardoso.

Barbara Wilson, head of the United Kingdom Social Work-Cancer Agency, who helps cancer-affected people returns to work, told the meeting: “Even for people living with the long-term side effects of treatment, it’s fully possible for them to continue working if there are real strategies to support them. It’s not about getting people to return to work, but if anyone wants to return, it can in most cases succeed.

“In order to achieve This requires employers to understand cancer, they need to communicate effectively with employees affected by cancer, and they must implement a flexible work policy during and after treatment, including providing individual support to those in need of one-on-one coaching. Too often, employers assume that you should not work and encourage you to leave, or they think that a few weeks after treatment you will be fine and wonder why you are not “normal again” as fast as expected. None of these assumptions are helpful, even termins may sometimes work, almost up to the time they die, depending on their cancer and what kind of work they do. “

Ms Wilson and Karen Benn, Deputy CEO of Europe Donna, urged all employers to ensure that they have training to improve their understanding of cancer and how they communicate with their employees, and they should also have a policy that supports flexible work. In addition, governments across Europe, and indeed, throughout the world, should introduce legislation to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against cancer patients.

“Currently, some countries have such legislation while many do not , “said Ms Wilson.” Workplace adjustments often cost small amounts compared with the cost of losing a good employee and the cost of recruiting new people. “

Benn said:” “It is important that people living with advanced breast cancer are not discriminated against in workplace and politics must reflect this. “

Professor Richard Sullivan, a surgeon and global cancer policy expert at the Institute Cancer’s Health Policy, King’s Health Partners Comprehensive Cancer Center, King’s College London, said it was not only costs for patients, employers and society through loss of productivity when people living with breast cancer have difficulty or impossible to work, but also because of how treatment and care of cancer are treated and financed. He challenged national governments to address the current link between cancer care and patient outcomes.

“This is a serious problem.” He told the meeting. “We have data showing that the cost of cancer care against the results for individual patients is completely unprotected. You have countries in Europe that spend huge amounts on clinical care, but see almost no improvement in results. Greece, for example, spends a great deal on breast cancer treatment – 34 500 euros per year a year – but has only seen a minimal improvement in breast cancer outcome, while other countries have a reduction in the number of deaths of around 20-30%. All this comes down to the control of cancer care. Most countries do not do it properly and pay a lot of money for junk care. “

He said this was a complex problem that had difficult and unpleasant solutions.” Many countries in Europe lose the battle in delivering affordable, fair and high quality care. Governments must have ruthless pricing and refund control through a transparent mechanism that relates the cost of the patient’s results, and this applies to oc what happens in the real world, not just in supercentra of clinical excellence. In addition, there must be proper control of clinical care and pathways, so that all patients receive proper care at the right stage of their cancer journey.

“Some of these are a system problem because we have mixed models of private and public sectors, each playing each other, a part of it due to clinical failure and corruption. In other areas, it is because the system has not introduced appropriate pricing mechanisms. But all we see at the moment is a bigger amount of money paid for fewer returns in terms of better and more fair results. “

Currently, the European Parliament looks at a proposal for a new directive on work-life balance, which will include the provision of work permits for people who care for children or severely ill relatives. The members of the ABC Global Alliance ask them to look at the labor rights for cancer patients as well.


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Provided by:
European School of Oncology

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