Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, and one in two people will be diagnosed with some variation of the disease in their lifetime. Although survival rates are high or improving for many types of cancer due to improved screening, treatment and prevention, there is a stigma associated with cancer, particularly in the workplace. For example, feeling judged for the diagnosis and feelings of job insecurity.
In an effort to erase the stigma of cancer in the workplace, Publicis Foundation launched a cross-industry coalition called “Working With Cancer” shortly after Arthur Sadoun, Publicis CEO, was diagnosed with and treated for cancer in April 2022. Once he made his diagnosis public, he heard from many who described the fear they felt for their lives and jobs. Fifty percent of cancer patients are afraid to tell their employers about their diagnosis, though most feel that being supported at work positively impacts their health.
Support From Influential Companies for the Working With Cancer Campaign
Working With Cancer is supported by leading cancer charities and organizations, including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Macmillan Cancer Support, among others. Multiple influential companies have committed to a pledge launched by Working With Cancer on January 17th, 2023. In partnership with the World Economic Forum, the pledge aims to build supportive and recovery-focused work cultures for employees with cancer. Some of the companies include AbbVie, Bank of America, Disney, Google, LVMH, Marriott, Microsoft, Sanofi and Toyota. Each company can outline their commitments to cancer patients on the Working With Cancer platform.
“Working with Cancer is an increasingly important initiative, on a front that many businesses are already invested in. By making their existing efforts more accessible and visible, together we can reduce the anxiety and stigma of cancer in the workplace and positively impact our people’s health. Through a truly collaborative approach, a light lift from everyone becomes deep and lasting impact for cancer patients at work,” said Arthur Sadoun.
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Publicis Groupe pledges to provide employees with cancer full job security for at least one year and to provide necessary career support for employees and any caregivers (e.g., those with a cancer patient in their immediate family) in the organization. They have also amplified their pledge with their campaign “Work/Life,” which illustrates the emotions and obstacles faced by employees when they hide their cancer diagnosis at work.
Additional conditions of the group’s pledge include individual employee assistance through personalized career support upon return to work, and access to an internal community of peer volunteers who are trained to provide support.