DMCS 610: Cancer and Worker Support

The purpose of this module is to explore the steps that can be taken to assist and retain workers who have been diagnosed with cancer. Although cancer treatments have improved and many people who have incurred cancer are treated and remain cancer free for the rest of their lives, a worker who is diagnosed with cancer faces a number of challenges including treatment effects such as fatigue and pain, anxiety about the future and financial losses and costs. Apart from a need for income, people who have been diagnosed with cancer may want to continue with all or part of their job because it helps them focus their attention on things other than their illness and because they may “feel more like themselves”. Others may feel too exhausted or too sick to work. For the workplace, the challenge is to accommodate a worker who may be away from work for periods of time, and who may need adaptations to their job when they are at work. However, the organization benefits when they can retain experienced workers and morale is heightened when employees know that their employer will assist them if they run into difficulty. The module covers topics including information on cancer as a chronic and episodic illness, the benefits and challenges related to retaining workers who are dealing with cancer, and the biopsychosocial impacts on individual workers who are dealing with cancer. Students will develop disability management plans that take into account the interplay among a range of factors related to the type and stage of cancer, individual characteristics and situation, and the current job in which the person is engaged and their workplace. Students will also identify work accommodations for workers who are dealing with cancer.