NCCS Publishes New White Paper Outlining Workplace Challenges and Resources for Childhood Cancer Survivors

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Employment challenges faced by childhood cancer survivors who have long-term health repercussions as a result of their treatment.

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Many survivors don’t realize the impact that their late effects might have on them once they’re in the workplace

Employment challenges faced by childhood cancer survivors who have long-term health repercussions as a result of their treatment are outlined in a new white paper published by The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), a nonprofit organization helping children with cancer and their families from diagnosis to survivorship.

The paper tells the story of one survivor who found creative ways to minimize the impact of her health challenges on her ability to do her job as a pediatric oncology/hematology nurse at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Survivors of childhood cancer often have “late effects,” residual medical problems caused by their treatment that limit their initial entry into the workforce or restrict their employment options, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health. When employed, cancer survivors often report problems in the workplace, including dismissal, demotion, denial of promotion, undesirable transfer, denial of benefits, and hostility.

As the number of survivors continues to increase, the need for support around survivorship issues, such as working during and after treatment, is becoming more and more important and demanding of attention. “Many survivors don’t realize the impact that their late effects might have on them once they’re in the workplace,” said Pam Gabris, coordinator of the Beyond the Cure Program for The National Children’s Cancer Society.

The NCCS and other organization, including Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, are collaborating on efforts to better educate survivors about late effects and provide them with tools and skills needed to find and retain meaningful jobs.

“It’s all about positive uplifting and self-advocacy,” said Courtney Metzinger, MFA, OTD, OTR/L, an occupational therapist with the Late Effects Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We look at their goals, what they’ll be challenged with, and problem solve. Then we create a recipe for meeting goals.”

The paper outlines ways Metzinger and other health professionals are working with survivors to get them workplace ready, and it identifies resources for survivors who want to learn more about late effects and workplace protection laws.

About The National Children’s Cancer Society

The mission of The National Children’s Cancer Society is to provide emotional, financial and educational support to children with cancer, their families and survivors. To learn more about the NCCS and its support services, visit thenccs.org. To read all articles and white papers published by the NCCS, visit https://thenccs.org/articles#. The National Children’s Cancer Society is a 501C(3) organization that has provided more than $62 million in direct financial assistance to more than 38,000 children with cancer. To contact the NCCS, call (314) 241-1600. You can also visit the NCCS on Facebook.

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Lori Millner
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