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  • Writer's pictureTeam Lime

A Culture of Care: The Value of Cancer Support for Businesses

Updated: 5 days ago

‘Cancer’ is a word that triggers fear and uncertainty. While significant strides have been made in earlier detection and treatment, the reality is that cancer cases are on the rise globally.[1] The NHS predicts that one in two people in the UK will develop some form of cancer at some point in their lifetime[2] and, according to Cancer Research UK, someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes.[3]

Cancer support for employees, globally rising cancer cases. cancer navigator employee whole of workforce healthcare benefits

Perhaps most alarming is the significant rise in cancer cases among individuals under 50. According to a recent study, these cases have increased by nearly 80% in the past three decades.[4]  The implications of a diagnosis vary, but with cancer rates rising the question of how employers can best support their employees is becoming critical.

The Devastating Impact of Cancer on Individuals and Businesses: The Ripple Effect

A cancer diagnosis can be life-changing. Beyond the inevitable physical and emotional toll, the financial strain on patients and their families may be immense. Even before the pandemic and subsequent cost of living crisis, Macmillan research found that four out of five people with cancer are, on average, £570 per month worse off.[5]

Like a pebble dropped in a pond, a cancer diagnosis sends ripples throughout the lives of those closest to the patient. From family members, to friends and colleagues, the emotional and practical challenges posed by cancer spread far beyond the individual.

The impact on businesses is equally significant and far reaching. Recent research suggests that for every single employee diagnosed, around 50 employees are affected by the diagnosis.[6]

Cancer support for employees, globally rising cancer cases. cancer navigator employee whole of workforce healthcare benefits

The disruption and cost, both human and financial, is considerable. Take the impact of absenteeism, for example: according to research by Reframe, employees diagnosed with cancer are absent from work an average of 28 days while waiting for a diagnosis alone. This doesn't account for treatment appointments, recovery periods, and the emotional toll and stress that can affect work performance. In fact, the same research indicates that employees miss an average of 15 full weeks’ worth of work during their cancer journey, at an estimated cost of £1.6bn to UK companies.[7][1] 

Beyond Absenteeism: Training and Legal Obligations

While managing cancer in the workplace can be challenging, it presents an opportunity to make a real difference in employees' lives during a critical time. However, to be effective, it’s important that organisations properly prepare and invest, such as providing manager training.

According to Macmillan research, a fifth of line managers feel uncomfortable discussing cancer with employees, and 87% haven't received training on supporting employees with long-term conditions like cancer.[8] Without proper training and resources, it's difficult to expect managers to provide the level of support employees with cancer truly need.

Cancer support for employees, globally rising cancer cases. cancer navigator employee whole of workforce healthcare benefits

This is where legal obligations come into play. Many people are surprised to learn that cancer is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. This means businesses have a legal responsibility to provide a clearly defined, supportive environment for employees diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer support for employees, globally rising cancer cases. cancer navigator employee whole of workforce healthcare benefits

Only 58% of people surveyed in a Macmillan YouGov survey who were employed when diagnosed knew that the Equality Act covered cancer patients[9], while another survey found that 73% of cancer patients returning to work did not have the required workplace adjustments[6] put in place. This reveals that a substantial number of businesses are either unaware of the Equality Act’s relevance to cancer or lack a dedicated cancer policy. This lack of awareness and accommodation of employee needs can lead to employees becoming concerned about their job security during a time of immense vulnerability . However, 70% of those who were well supported by their employee benefits returned to work feeling like a ‘changed person’ with more empathy, better able to deal with stress, and having a better appreciation for life.

Market Challenges and the Need for a Meaningful Solution

Historically, traditional cancer health cover options have been expensive and therefore unaffordable for many businesses, leaving employees with limited support, particularly those in less well-paid roles. Other solutions, such as cash plans and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have their place but are limited in the support they can offer and often fail to address the evolving needs of employees and businesses given the complexities of cancer care.

Introducing Cancer Navigator: Bridging the Gap

Cancer support for employees, globally rising cancer cases. cancer navigator employee whole of workforce healthcare benefits

At Lime Health, we understand the critical need for comprehensive cancer care benefits that are affordable across the whole workforce. That's why we developed Cancer Navigator, a solution that bridges this gap to offer employees and businesses the support they need, just when they need it most.


Cancer Navigator directly addresses the financial burden on employees and their families. Every newly diagnosed employee receives a cash lump sum to immediately help alleviate some of the financial stress associated with treatment.

Cancer support for employees, globally rising cancer cases. cancer navigator employee whole of workforce healthcare benefits

However, support goes far beyond finances. Cancer Navigator recognises the significant emotional toll a diagnosis can have, not just on the patient but also on loved ones. That's why it offers up to two years dedicated, nurse-led, expert support services for  family and friends, creating a ripple effect of support that fosters wellbeing during this challenging time.

Cancer Navigator empowers employees throughout their cancer journey. Through help managing appointments, chasing referrals, and providing access to reliable information and emotional support, Cancer Navigator reduces anxiety and makes life easier in an incredibly challenging time.

Supporting Employees, Supporting Businesses

Cancer Navigator also addresses the needs of businesses. It equips managers to better support employees diagnosed with cancer, which in turn reduces absenteeism as employees are empowered to stay in or return to work. It provides employers with the knowledge, resources and confidence to offer meaningful support to employees with cancer and remain fully compliant with the Equality Act 2010.

Cancer Support for Businesses: Taking a Proactive Stance on Comprehensive Care

As employee benefits advisors, you are champions of employee health and wellbeing. Now you can offer powerful and affordable cancer support to your clients’ whole workforce. Help them:

  • Create an effective, supportive culture, equipping managers and colleagues with practical skills and tools.

  • Reduce the impact on business through minimising absenteeism and ensuring legal compliance with the Equality Act 2010.

  • Make a meaningful difference to employees, their families, and friends by providing them with the support they need to cope through diagnosis and treatment.

Check out the details of Cancer Navigator, contact Lime Health today to offer support to your clients when cancer happens.

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[6] Reframe, The Cancer Crisis. 2023

[7] Based on a forecast of working age people (20-68yrs) with cancer in the UK (2020) and using the NHS Cancer Data as source statistics, with adjustments for unemployment and cancer incidence rates.




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