Managing cancer and work
May 15, 2022
Managing cancer and work day

Third edition of the Dutch National Cancer and Work Day

The Dutch National Cancer and Work Day is committed to maintaining work and sustainable employability for people with cancer. The most recent edition of the event, which took place on March 15 2022, reaffirmed that work and cancer can successfully co-exist. An individual approach works best, however despite there being a lot of information and support available, many people are unfortunately not aware of these resources.

Everyone likes to be part of something

Work is an important part of life, even when we get sick. It provides us with a social network, a sense of satisfaction and can even contribute to recovery. Speaker Jeroen Mol, COO of Landal GreenParks, wrote a book entitled “Right through everything” (in Dutch: Dwars door alles heen) based on his own experience: “During the first few weeks, work may not matter because your life has been turned completely upside down. But there comes a time when you do want to do something again. Because your world becomes small when you are sick. I missed my colleagues and especially the feeling of “being part of something”. Whether you are a postal worker or a director, everyone likes to be part of something.”

Stay in touch

Ask Ilona Schelle, IT Manager at De Nederlandsche Bank and Patient Advocate with Inspire2Live, about the biggest misunderstanding around cancer and work. Without hesitation she says: “The idea that you need to leave patients alone. That often happens, with the best of intentions, but that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. Stay in touch. All the time.”

Don’t get caught out

Because that was the second painful conclusion of the day: there is a lot of information and help available, but it is difficult to find when suddenly needed. We therefore recommend that companies draw up a proactive policy. In the Netherlands, 45 000 active workers are diagnosed with cancer every year; any company may need to deal with it and it has a huge impact on everyone involved. So don’t get taken by surprise.

Sabine Wernars
Patient Advocate Inspire2Live