Helping working women diagnosed with breast cancer

New research being conducted at Saint Mary’s University will help working women diagnosed with breast cancer. The Work Wellness Team led by Saint Mary’s professors Dr. Lucie Kocum and Dr. Catherine Loughlin and Dalhousie professor Dr. Lynne Robinson, is conducting workshops at Saint Mary’s this week to create interventions that will help women diagnosed with breast cancer in the workplace.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second deadliest cancer for women. Every day, 68 women in Canada are diagnosed with breast cancer most of whom are of working age.

“Breast cancer is the cancer of the working woman,” says Dr. Kocum. “It can have devastating effects on working women that other forms of cancer just don’t seem to have. Women become unemployed after being diagnosed with breast cancer, more than any other cancer. Why is that?”

Thanks to funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Saint Mary's University and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation community partners from across Canada came together at Saint Mary’s this week for the first of many meetings to be held over the next two years to develop and test workplace interventions.

“Our research is unique as we will meet with union members, academics, breast cancer survivors, insurance companies and disability professionals, says Dr. Kocum. “Each brings a different perspective to the issue and allows us to brainstorm and test the best practices for employers and employees to implement to better cope with illness and promote health within the workplace.”

The first Partnership for a Healthy Workplace Response to Breast Cancer meeting is being held at the Sobey School of Business Unilever Lounge on Wednesday, July 20 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.