New Online Portal Designed to Help Employees Manage Cancer Diagnosis in the Workplace

May 1, 2014

by Cheryl L. Serra

Cheryl SerraDiagnosis: Cancer. Reaction: Disbelief and fear. Fear of your prognosis, the treatment, reaction of family and friends, and your financial future. How will you possibly be able to undergo treatment—or care for a loved one with cancer—and work?

A new employee benefit will soon be available to help support cancer pa­tients in the workplace. It is de­signed to educate employees and managers about cancer and provide information about handling its im­pact in the workplace.

Johns Hopkins Medicine and BlueRush Media Group Corp., a Canadian company, are developing an online portal, Managing Cancer at Work, for companies that want to offer it as an employee benefit. In development for two years, the pro­gram is scheduled to be piloted at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Balti­more and at Stamford, CT-based Pitney Bowes by late summer.

Origins

The impetus for the portal develop­ment came from close to home, ac­cording to Terry Langbaum, chief administrative officer of the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Compre­hensive Cancer Center. In the office in which Langbaum works, three of its nine employees were diagnosed with cancer (one of them was diag­nosed twice) and two other em­ployees lost their spouses to cancer in a period of four years. It was stressful, sad, and frightening, and it affected the functioning of the of­fice, she says.

“We’re cancer people. We know what we’re doing. Most people out there don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to managing cancer and how to predict when people are going to be out of work and how to work with them appropriately to support them during their cancer episode yet still get the work done,” Langbaum says.


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