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Work Outcomes in Self-Employed Cancer Survivors

Human Resources, Leadership, Occupational Health & Safety, Return-to-Work
Free 1hr
The proportion of people of working age who are diagnosed with cancer is expected to rise in coming years. At the same time, in many western countries, the proportion of people in the workforce who are self-employed is growing. For example, the Europe 2020 strategy encourages European Union member states to promote self-employment as a driver of economic growth.

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The past decade has seen an explosion in knowledge about the adverse effects of cancer on people’s working lives. Despite the growing importance of the self-employed as a group, there has been a lack of research investigating the impact of cancer on self-employed people.

The session will present findings from recently published research which bought together several datasets from different European countries to examine work-related outcomes in self-employed cancer survivors.  It will discuss: differences between self-employed and salaried cancer survivors; variations across countries; and factors which influence work-related outcomes in self-employed survivors.  It will also: review the state of the evidence internationally; highlight evidence gaps and where further research is needed; and discuss challenges in conducting research on this largely neglected population.

Learning Outcomes

How cancer affects the working life of those who are self-employed
How patterns of work participation, and health outcomes, after cancer differ between salaried workers and the self-employed
What factors influence work participation following a cancer diagnosis
That self-employed cancer survivors may experience poorer work-related outcomes or health outcomes than salaried survivors
How national social welfare provisions may drive work engagement following a cancer diagnosis, especially in people who are self-employed
That self-employed people consider the needs of their business as well as their health needs after a cancer diagnosis
The areas where further research is needed
What issues need to be considered in developing interventions/strategies to support work engagement after cancer in people who are self-employed


Linda Sharp, PhD
Linda Sharp is a Professor of Cancer Epidemiology at Newcastle University in the UK. She has been conducting research in cancer survivorship for more than 12 years. Workforce participation after a cancer diagnosis is one of her major interests. She has led a range of qualitative, epidemiological and economic studies which have examined different aspects of this issue and has published widely on this topic. She is a leading member of the EU Cancer and Work Network (CANWON).
Maureen Parkinson, MEd, CCRC
Ms. Maureen Parkinson has worked for over 25 years as the BC Cancer Agency provincial vocational rehabilitation counselor. Previously, she worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for a public rehabilitation hospital, a vocational rehabilitation consultant for insurance and law firms, and as instructor/facilitator of job search and career exploration programs for contracted services by Service Canada. She has been the co-lead of website and co-authored a commission paper for the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology called Cancer and Work: A Canadian Perspective. She has developed job search and return to work seminars for cancer patients and developed Cancer and Returning to Work: A Practical Guide for Cancer Patients. She has been involved in research of cancer survivors focusing on return to work, rehabilitation, quality of life, and cognitive challenges. She is a Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor and has completed the Certified Return to Work Coordinator Program and is a sessional instructor for the Cancer and Worker Support course offered by Pacific Coast University. Maureen earned her Bachelor's in Psychology from UBC and a Master's in counseling from the University of Toronto. In her spare time, Maureen enjoys biking and swimming.
Lucie Kocum, PhD
Dr. Lucie Kocum is a core team member of the Cancer and Work research group. She is also an Associate Professor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary's University, and a member of the CN Centre for Occupational Health. At Saint Mary's University, she teaches graduate-level knowledge translation, research methods and statistics and supervises Honours, Masters, and Doctoral trainees in occupational health psychology, applied health services research, knowledge translation, and industrial psychology (namely personnel measurement). Her mixed-methods quantitative and qualitative research programs in return to work interventions, psychosocial oncology, and occupational health psychology are funded through grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation as well as the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage.

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