A great piece in the Science & Health section of Vox discusses how cancer has become a chronic illness for many people today, something that is manageable and that they live with long-term. We hear this often in our work with cancer patients and survivors, and further demonstrates the need for a shift in how we think about cancer.
The Vox article begins by sharing the story of Susan Thornton, who has been living with a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma for 25 years and goes on to state that “The cancer death rate has dropped by 23% since 1991, with some even larger gains in types of cancer that used to be extremely lethal. This means there are more and more patients like Thornton who are neither dying from cancer nor defeating it entirely. Instead, they’re learning to live with it.”
Unfortunately, many people don’t understand this and still think about cancer in terms of “black or white” — that is, complete remission or death. However, that view is very far from what many patients and survivors experience these days, as is evidenced by the sheer number of people who access our resources that help them continue to work after a diagnosis.
It’s important to help others widen their perspective and increase the understanding that more and more people today experience cancer as a chronic illness. Doing so depends largely on educating both patients and those around them — including friends, family and, perhaps most importantly, employers.
For more on how to manage work after a cancer diagnosis click here.
Our Manager’s Kit, which is free and available for download, helps patients and survivors facilitate a conversation with their employer and includes information on essential laws, workplace strategies and tips for working with HR.
For the full Vox article, click here.