rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


Working with Cancer




I’m sure you’ve heard the news today based on research by Macmillan  that by 2020 almost half of Britons will get cancer in their lifetime although 38% will not die from the disease.

The growth in the number of people getting cancer is due to overall improvement in life expectancy. The reduction in the proportion of those diagnosed who die of their cancer is because of a greater focus on early diagnosis, advances in cancer treatments and better cancer care. This is actually very good news.

Of course, all of this means that more and more people of working age will be living and working with a cancer diagnosis and employers (just as much as the NHS and the social care sector), will need to factor this into their workforce planning and support. The trouble is very few employers do this, or even think of it until they are confronted with the problem. Lots of organisations spend thousands of pounds each year on donations to cancer charities and that’s wonderful, I wouldn’t want that to change for a moment, but I wonder how many actually support their own employees to return to or remain in work after a cancer diagnosis.  Rather too many quietly encourage them to leave.

So will good old British short termism and ‘muddling through’ continue to be the way employers treat this new information? I fear that the answer to this is the bad news!



Barbara Wilson

BARBARA WILSON, founder of Working with Cancer, is a senior HR professional with almost 40 years’ experience. Her previous roles were Group Head of Strategic HR at Catlin Group Ltd, Deputy Head of HR at Schroders Investment Management, and prior to that Chief of Staff to the Group HR Director at Barclays. Before joining Barclays she was a senior management consultant at Price Waterhouse. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, Barbara set up a group called ‘Working with Cancer’. The group was the first to develop guidelines on work and cancer for HR professionals, line managers, employees and carers. From 2008 to 2010 she chaired a major part of the NHS/Macmillan 5-year Cancer Survivorship strategy, developing ‘work and cancer’ support tools for employees, employers and clinicians. She continues to work as a volunteer with Macmillan Cancer Support and speaks about ‘work and cancer’ at various conferences and events. Barbara trained as a coach at Ashridge Management College and has a history degree from Cambridge University. She is married with two sons and lives in Surrey.

One Response to Good news and bad news re cancer issued today.

  1. Deborah

    That’s a shocking statistic BUT encouraging that almost one in four won’t die from cancer.

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