Upstream Advocacy: Addressing Cancer Survivors’ Employment Problems Through Medical-Legal Partnerships

By: Barbara Hoffman. Published by: National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership. Published on: February 10, 2016

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Of the little research that has been devoted to the legal needs of cancer survivors, most research involves the legal issues of end-of-life care and not the legal issues faced by survivors who are healthy enough to work. This article states that since approximately two-thirds of all adults diagnosed with cancer will survive at least five years, far more attention must be devoted to measuring the legal needs related to cancer survivor rights to fair treatment at work. It reviews the cultural changes that affect cancer survivors at work, explains how the legal needs of cancer survivors can impact their quality of life, and proposes that medical-legal partnerships are an ideal model to provide legal resources to underserved survivors to help them avoid and address negative employment consequences.One of the non-medical consequences of cancer survivors living more productively during cancer treatment, living longer after cancer treatment, and living with cancer is employment problems that implicate legal issues. Some of these employment problems include: reduced income, loss of medical insurance, lost promotional opportunities, and limited work-related social interactions. A cancer experience can also affect a survivor’s ability to obtain an initial job, maintain employment, make career advancements, and change jobs. This article proposes that at each of these stages, legal resources could help survivors address their obstacles.

Categories: Delivery systems (e.g., MLPs), Employment, Employment, Health, Health, Individuals with Disabilities, Legal Aid Practitioners, Medical-Legal Partnerships, National, Policymakers and Funders

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