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Type: Journal article
Title: Barriers to employment of Australian cancer survivors living with geographic or socio-economic disadvantage: a qualitative study
Author: Kemp, E.
Knott, V.
Ward, P.
Freegard, S.
Olver, I.
Fallon-Ferguson, J.
Emery, J.
Christensen, C.
Bareham, M.
Koczwara, B.
Citation: Health Expectations, 2021; 24(3):951-966
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 1369-6513
Statement of
Emma Kemp, Vikki Knott, Paul Ward, Suzana Freegard, Ian Olver, Julia Fallon-Ferguson ... et al.
Abstract: Background: Opportunities for cancer survivors' employment can both reflect and perpetuate health inequities, as employment is an important social determinant of health. Socio-economic and geographic disadvantage is associated with greater difficulty finding work, but little is known about work needs of Australian cancer survivors living with disadvantage. Objective: This study examined survivor and health-care professional (HCP) perspectives on barriers experienced by Australian cancer survivors experiencing disadvantage when attempting to remain at or return to work. Method: Focus groups and individual interviews were held with cancer survivors (N = 15) and oncology and primary HCPs (N = 41), focusing on communities at risk of disadvantage. Participants were asked about employment barriers and facilitators in general and in the context of disadvantage. Themes were identified using framework analysis. Results: Geographic and socio-economic disadvantage resulted in specific individual- and system-level barriers. These related to distance from treatment and support services and limited availability and suitability of work for survivors living with geographic disadvantage, and limited availability, security, and flexibility of work and previous unemployment for survivors living with socio-economic disadvantage. Identified needs included system-level changes such as public and workplace-level education, legislative and policy changes, and better access to resources. Conclusions: Cancer survivors living with disadvantage experience limited access to flexible employment opportunities and resources, further perpetuating their disadvantage. Promotion of health equity for cancer survivors living with disadvantage requires systemic changes to support attempts to remain at/return to work. Patient or public contribution: This study included cancer survivors and HCPs as investigators, authors and participants.
Keywords: cancer survivors
return to work
social determinants of health
vulnerable populations
Description: First published: 07 April 2021
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI: 10.1111/hex.13238
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