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Nov 28 2012
UK plc ‘needlessly’ losing billions as people with cancer fall out of work

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More support for sufferers and employers could keep more people at work, report claims People with cancer make a very significant contribution to the UK economy but tens of thousands are prevented from doing so because of a lack of support for them and their employers, a report claims today. The study, carried out by Oxford Economics, reveals that some 560,000 people with cancer are currently in the workforce, contributing £16bn each year to the economy. However the report, carried out in collaboration with Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres and insurer Unum, means that many people with cancer fall out of the workplace unnecessarily, the report argues. As a result, the UK economy is losing out on £1.8bn every year, it claims. Today’s report suggests that by 2030, with rising prevalence and survival rates, the number of cancer sufferers at work is set to rise to one million, with an economic contribution of £29bn. However, it also argues that as many as 63,000 people living with cancer today want to work, but are encountering barriers that prevent them from doing so. According to Oxford Economics, by 2030 an additional 136,000 people with cancer who want to work could “with the right support” do so, and they could contribute an additional £3.5bn to the UK economy. The number of people with cancer in the workplace is expected to rise exponentially in the coming years as people work for longer and survival rates improve. Research carried out earlier this year by Aviva UK Health shows that nearly a third (29%) of employers are already seeing a rise in the average age of their workforce, while 37% expect to see it get older in the future. And although half of employers believe there are positive benefits for individuals working past the traditional retirement age, nearly two fifths (38%) predict that health issues associated with an aging workforce – such as cancer – will impact their business. Today’s report argues that complex reasons lie behind barriers which are currently preventing more people with cancer from working. It argues that relationships can “quickly and unintentionally” break down due to a lack of “regular and meaningful communication and shared understanding” between employers and employees. Free critical illness advice

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