Three out of 10 Korean cancer survivors experienced workplace discrimination, and the most necessary state support for them would be the extension of the period for lowered medical burdens for people with serious illnesses, a survey showed.
Rep. Yoon Il-kyu of the ruling Democratic Party held a conference at the National Assembly on Monday to promote cancer survivors’ return to work.
|Cho Bi-ryong, a professor at the Family Medicine Department of Seoul National University Hospital, speaks during a conference to promote cancer survivors’ return to work at the National Assembly on Monday.|
Cho Bi-ryong, a professor at the Family Medicine Department of Seoul National University Hospital, presented the result of the survey on cancer survivors about their difficulties while returning to work, at the conference. The poll was on 855 cancer survivors who were willing to return to work or who were working while receiving treatment in April and May.
The respondents’ major physical difficulties included poor physical condition (69.7 percent), stress management (47 percent), and weak physical strength (42.1 percent). Their psychological issues were mostly involved with worries about health deterioration again due to work (80.7 percent).
In particular, their depression, feeling of helplessness, and anxiety about employment peaked four years after the onset of cancer.
Due to concerns over prejudice and discrimination against cancer survivors, 26 percent of the respondents said they would not disclose the experience of cancer treatment. One in four acquaintances of cancer survivors were negative about cancer survivors’ return to work, and they were most concerned about cancer survivors’ physical limitations.
More than half of the respondents said they experienced workplace discrimination, and the most common prejudice they faced was an assumption that they would lose focus on work.
The most wanted state support policies would be a longer period for reduced medical burden for people with serious illnesses (74 percent), enhanced primary care for continued health management (51.3 percent), support for rehabilitation programs such as exercise and psychotherapy (51.3 percent), priority support for employment of breadwinners of cancer patients (36.4 percent), and caregiving support for domestic work at cancer patients’ homes (25.3 percent).
Cho introduced an example in Japan where manuals are provided for labor specialists at companies so that they can help employees with particular diseases and what training they should provide in the workplace.
“Korea needs such education and promotion programs at companies and local governments,” he said.