While cancer itself does not discriminate, there are deep disparities in access to care and outcomes for people in the US diagnosed with cancer based on race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, geography, sexual orientation and more. These disparities include people’s experiences at work.
In 2021, we started to delve into some of those distinctions with a survey solely focused on the Black/African American and Hispanic/Latine work and cancer experiences. As we looked to growing this body of work in 2022, we focused on creating one survey that could reflect the overall experiences of working people with cancer in the US as well dive into the differences in that experience across race/ethnicity and other demographics. What we continue to find across demographics is that many people have to – and want to – continue participating actively in the workforce and, thanks to ongoing advances in treatment, more and more can.
However, when compared to their white peers, we see that Black/African American respondents with cancer are:
- Nearly twice as likely (40% vs 23%) to be worried that their cancer diagnosis would negatively affect how they were treated in the workplace.
- About three times as likely (37% vs 7%) to say race or ethnicity played a negative role in how they were treated at work after their cancer diagnosis.
- More than twice as likely (45% vs 21%) to have experienced changes to their work life - both practically (hours, careers, etc.) and in their workplace relationships.
- More likely to identify a long-term negative impact on their career growth and ability to find a better job resulting from their diagnosis (38% vs 20%).
- More likely to express a need for resources and/or support programs to address workplace concerns of those who have been diagnosed with cancer (71% vs 57%).
- More concerned (46% v 26%) that their current employer/a potential future employer might discover online posts about cancer or their cancer diagnosis (i.e., via Facebook, Twitter, blog, or an interview), regardless of whether they ever posted anything on social media.
Beyond reporting on data points, this research tells us that there is a lot of work to be done to better support this part of our community at work. Cancer and Careers is committed to bridging these gaps by continuing our efforts to understand the specific needs of all facets of our audience; sharing those learnings with the cancer community, employers and the public; and providing diverse content, programs and services to meet the growing needs of our whole community.
The research was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation among 905 US adults age 18+ who have been diagnosed with cancer and are either employed full time, part time, or unemployed but looking for work. The survey was conducted between August 22nd through September 19th, 2022.
Data are weighted where necessary by age by gender, education, race/ethnicity, region, household income, employment status, and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 4.2 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to other multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including, but not limited to coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.