Impact of a Workplace Educational Webinar Series Focused on the Needs of Employees and Their Family Members Living with a Cancer Diagnosis

November 2017 Vol 8, No 11
Marie Borsellino, RN, MSN, ONN-CG

Background: As people with a history of cancer are living longer and surviving their cancer, today it is estimated that there are 14 million cancer survivors in the United States. By 2026, it is anticipated that the number of cancer survivors will be 20.3 million. Forty-four percent of newly diagnosed cancer survivors are of working age.

Employee cancer survivors consider continued employment necessary, not only for financial reasons and access to healthcare benefits, but because work helps them feel normal and provides personal satisfaction. The employee caregiver also requires support because caregiving for a cancer patient is an intense experience, and the burden of care is high; 62% of cancer caregivers are in a high burden.

Objectives: The implementation of a workplace oncology nurse navigator helps the employee with cancer, the employee caregiver for a loved one with cancer, or the manager be supported and informed by providing clinical expertise, patient advocacy, and support or guidance on psychosocial and financial issues.

A series of 4 live webinars entitled Just in Time covered “Nutrition and Cancer”; “Planning for Successful Treatment: How to Anticipate and Manage the Demands of Treatment”; “Chemo Brain? Cognitive Effects of Cancer Treatment”; and “Surviving Cancer,” discussing issues of cancer survivorship.

Methods: Participant surveys and user analytics were collected from ON24, a cloud-based platform.

The qualitative survey was administered postintervention to assess the value of the education provided to the participant and the most beneficial resource offered, as well as awareness of postcancer treatment challenges, strategies to cope with posttreatment, and other topics of interest.

Results: Eighty-eight participants attended the live presentations, and 31 surveys were collected. The following questions were polled:

  • How helpful was this webcast? 100% found the “Nutrition and Cancer” webinar very helpful; 66.7% found the content on “Planning for Successful Treatment” very helpful; 87% found the “Chemo Brain? Cognitive Effects of Cancer Treatment” very helpful, and for the “Surviving Cancer” webinar, 100% of the respondents found it very helpful and wrote in “[this program] opened up a better pathway to long-term survivorship”
  • When asked to describe the resources of the Managing Cancer at Work program they benefited the most from, having a dedicated oncology nurse and access to an information portal were identified by 63.3% of the respondents
  • Were you aware of the challenges (late effects) that survivors encounter after active treatment is completed? 50% stated that they were not aware
  • Did you learn tips and strategies to help cope with challenges after active treatment is completed? 100% responded that they learned new strategies, and a write-in response declared “this (webinar) confirmed that how I am dealing with this is recommended”
  • When polled about other topics of interest, respondents requested topics for caregivers, how to manage financial toxicity issues, fertility, and stress management

Conclusions: These findings indicate an ongoing need to explore new ways to support our cancer survivors and their families. The preliminary responses collected suggest that the workplace oncology navigator can help, including providing education about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, preventive services, and supporting employees during treatment and after they return to work.


American Cancer Society. Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures 2016-2017. 2017.

De Jong M, Tamminga SJ, Frings-Dresen MH, et al. Quality of working life of cancer survivors: associations with health- and work-related variables. Support Care Cancer. 2017;25:1475-1484.

Fillion L, Cook S, Veillette AM, et al. Professional navigation framework: elaboration and validation in a Canadian context. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2012;39:E58-E69.

Freeman HP, Rodriguez RL. History and principles of patient navigation. Cancer. 2011;117(15 Suppl):3539-3542.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al, eds. SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2014. National Cancer Institute; Bethesda, MD. LIVESTRONG Foundation. Survivors’ Experiences with Employment. 2013.

National Alliance for Caregiving. Cancer Caregiving in the U.S. An Intense, Episodic, and Challenging Care Experience. 2016.

Shockney LD. Evolution of patient navigation. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2010;14:405-407.

Shockney LD. Supporting your employees and managing cancer at work. Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship. 2017;8(1):39.

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Last modified: August 10, 2023

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