Employers’ and Survivors’ Perspectives

  • Ziv Amir
  • David R. Strauser
  • Fong Chan

Despite the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a recent National Council on Disability report [1] indicated that only 35% of working-age people with chronic illness and disability are employed comparing to 78% of those without disabilities. Two-thirds of the unemployed persons with chronic illness and disability indicated that they would like to work but could not find jobs. Disturbingly, the employment rate of people with disabilities has been hovering around 35% for the past two decades [2]. While these data are not specific to cancer survivors, at this point, there is no reason to assume that this group differs. In fact, while cancer survivors make up a small percentage of these cases [3], this may be a general observation in those with various types of chronic illness.


Cancer Survivor Chronic Illness Sick Leave Chronic Health Condition Focus Group Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Preparation of this chapter is supported in part by funding from SPR, Inc., an Information Technology services film, located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. We would like to thank Mr. Patrick Maher, manager of the nAblement Division of the SPR, Inc., for his extraordinary efforts and contributions to the success of the employer perceptions project funded by SPR, Inc. Furthermore, we would like to thank Macmillan Cancer Support (UK) for supporting and funding this research conducted in the United Kingdom.


  1. 1.
    National Council on Disability. Empowerment for Americans with Disabilities: Breaking Barriers to Careers and Full Employment. 2007.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chan F, Cheing G, Chan JYC, Rosenthal DA, Chronister JA. Predicting employment outcomes of rehabilitation clients with orthopedic disabilities: A CHAID analysis. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2006;28:257–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chan F, Strauser D, Cardoso EdS, Zheng LX, Chan JYC, Feuerstein M. State vocational services and employment in cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 2008;2:169–78.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Long-range plan for fiscal year 2005–2009. 2006.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Grizzard WR. Meeting demand-side expectations and needs. APA 15th Anniversary Seminar; 2005; Washington, DC; 2005.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Stensrud R. Developing relationships with employers’ means, considering the competitive business environment and the risks it produces. Rehabilitation Counselling Bulletin. 2007;50:226–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Strauser D, Chan F. Demand side employment factors affecting job placement and job retention among people with disabilities. Cancer Survivorship and Work Seminar. Goldsmith College, London 2007.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Greider W. One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism. New York: Simon & Shuester 1997.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Murry M. After long boom, workers confront downward mobility. The Wall Street Journal. 2003;Sect. A1, A6.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Strauser D, Chan F. Employer perceptions of productivity and barriers to hiring individuals with disabilities. Abilitylinks Annual Training Conference. Chicago, IL 2008.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Foley KL, Farmer DF, Petronis VM, Smith RG, McGraw S, Smith K, et al. A qualitative exploration of the cancer experience among long-term survivors: Comparisons by cancer type, ethnicity, gender, and age. Psycho-Oncology. 2006;15(3):248–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Thewes B, Butow P, Girgis A, Pendlebury S. The psychosocial needs of breast cancer survivors: A qualitative study of the shared and unique needs of younger versus older survivors. Psycho-Oncology. 2004;13:177–89.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Amir Z, Moran A, Walsh L, Iddenten R, Luker K. Return to paid work – The British experience. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 2007;1:129–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Main DS, Nowels CT, Cavender TA, Etschmaier M, Steiner JF. A qualititative study of work and work return in cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology. 2005;14:992–1004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kennedy F, Haslam C, Munir F, Pryce J. Returning to work following cancer: A qualitative exploratory study into the experience of returning to work. European Journal of Cancer Care. 2007;16:17–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Amir Z, Neary D, Luker K. Cancer survivors' view of work 3 years post diagnosis: A UK perspective. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2008;12:190–7.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Farley Short P, Vasey JJ, BeLue R. Work disability associated with cancer survivorship and other chronic conditions. Psycho-Oncology. 2007;17:91–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Spelten E, Verbeek J, Uitterhoeve A, Ansink A, vand der Lelie J, de Reijke T, et al. Cancer, fatigue, and the return of patients to work: A prospective cohort study. European Journal of Cancer. 2003;39:1562–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Steiner JF, Cavender TA, Main DS, Bradley C. Assessing the impact of cancer on work outcomes: What are the research needs? Cancer. 2004;101(8):1703–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bouknight R, Bradley C, Luo Z. Correlates of return to work for breast cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006;24(3):345–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Taskila T, Lindbohm M, Martikainen R, Lehto U, Hakanen J, Hietanen P. Cancer survivors' received and needed social support from their work place and the occupational health service. Support Care in Cancer. 2006;14:427–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Directgov. Definition of ‘disability’ under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). 2006 cited 2006 June 21.; Available from:
  23. 23.
    Cancer Backup. Work and Cancer: How Cancer Affects Working Lives. London: Cancer Backup 2006.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Maunsell M, Brisson C, Dubois L, Lauzier S, Fraser A. Work problems after breast cancer: An exploratory qualitative study. Psycho-Oncology. 1999;8:467–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Verbeek J, Spelten E, Kammeijer M, Sprangers M. Return to work of cancer survivors: A prospective cohort study in the quality of rehabilitation by occupational physicians. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2003;6:353–7.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Feuerstein M, Hansen JA, Calvio LC, Johnson L, Ronquillo J. Work productivity in brain turmo survivors. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2007;2007(49).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hansen JA, Feuerstein M, Olsen CH, Calvio LC. Breast cancer survivors at work. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2008;50(7):777–84.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macmillan Research Unit, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, University PlaceUniversity of ManchesterManchester M13 9PLUK

Personalised recommendations