Childhood-Cancer Survivors Struggle To Find Employment

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday examined how the"transition into the workplace can be rocky for many childhood-cancersurvivors -- especially those who have been treated with high doses ofradiation and chemotherapy" because the "resulting cognitive andphysical impairments can make it hard to keep a job." According to the Journal,the "problem is becoming more acute as a greater number ofchildhood-cancer survivors enter the work force, thanks to improvementsin treatments over the past few decades." Childhood-cancer survivors"face the added obstacle of trying to get and keep that all-importantfirst job -- for many people the first chance to get employer-providedhealth insurance -- and establish a career," the Journal reports.

Clinicsthat specialize in treating adult cancer survivors encourage patientsto seek jobs at larger companies, which are more likely to offer grouphealth plans. Federal law prohibits employers that offer group plansfrom denying coverage to an employee based on health status. Employersalso are legally barred from asking about a job applicant's medicalhistory but may ask questions about their ability to complete tasks.Childhood-cancer survivors might be afraid "of showing that they have acondition that would limit their work," Kevin Oeffinger, director ofthe Program for Adult Survivors of Pediatric Cancer at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said (Athavaley, Wall Street Journal, 12/11).

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