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Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

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Study assessed healthcare professionals’ perceptions of the effects of cancer on patients' employment status, levels of knowledge about supports to address these employment-related needs, and respondents' preferred modes for information receipt. Data were collected via an online survey administered to staff that provide nonmedical services to cancer patients in two Houston-area hospital systems. The findings from 86 respondents were analyzed. Results indicate that tenure as measured by years in oncology is related positively to level of knowledge about disability-related benefits, legislation and programs. Respondents with more years in their profession worked with patients whom they reported had a higher number of cancer side effects that "created work difficulties for patients". The number of side effects was in turn positively associated with negative effects of the diagnosis at work. A higher score of negative effects of the cancer diagnosis at work in turn correlated with unwanted consequences of disclosing the cancer at work. No statistically significant correlations were observed among the variables measuring respondents' reported knowledge of disability-related benefits, laws and programs, their perception of patients' level of understanding of these topics, and reports of patients' receipt of reasonable accommodation. Healthcare professionals who treat cancer patients could benefit from training resources about how survivors might address their employment-related needs, including how to convey that knowledge to their patients. Mentoring programs might also have positive outcomes, since respondents with greater tenure in oncology-related settings reported higher levels of knowledge about disability-related topics.


Murphy, Kathleen M., Nguyen, Vinh, Shin, Ki, Sebastian-Deutsch, Amy, Frieden, Lex

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