A rehabilitation program to support those with cancer to return to health, wellness and work

The transition towards becoming a ‘cancer survivor’ and thinking about work can be complex. Individuals with cancer attempting to remain at or return to work need to manage symptoms related to treatment.

It is important for service providers, health professionals and employers to provide assistance to help cancer survivors overcome their current barriers and make a timely return to appropriate, sustainable work. Beyond Cancer aims to provide that assistance.

What is Beyond Cancer?

Beyond Cancer is an evidence based, holistic rehabilitation program, offered to people who are living with cancer. It aims to reduce the impact of symptoms, enhance wellness and help survivors to successfully resume working.

The program is specifically tailored to each person’s unique needs. It includes:

  • An assessment to identify current life challenges
  • Education in symptom management
  • Health management training (for example, managing stress, increasing resilience and managing pain)
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Return to work planning
  • Engagement with the workplace as required

Individually tailored support

Any person diagnosed with cancer who was working prior to their diagnosis, and who has thoughts of returning to work at some point, is eligible to engage in this program. This may be soon after their diagnosis, during or after their treatment. The time to return to work depends on the individual, but this program can help build readiness.

Weeks 1–4

  • The cancer survivor meets with an IPAR consultant to discuss potential services and support
  • The Positivum™ assessment completed to enable tailoring of services

Weeks 5–20

  • Program elements will be delivered over approximately 3-4 months to suit individual needs and circumstances

Beyond Cancer begins with a comprehensive cancer-specific assessment, Positivum™, that identifies areas that are likely to be barriers to optimal recovery and remaining at or returning to work.

Health coaching and exercise

Beyond Cancer addresses concerns faced by cancer survivors, particularly those impacting recovery or work. Sessions focus on techniques to improve health management, function and build up activity levels. This may include sessions with an Exercise Physiologist.

The health coaching program content is dependent on the results of the Positivum™ assessment, but can include:

  • Values and goal setting
  • Understanding beliefs and perceptions
  • The health benefits of work
  • Life after cancer, including treatment, symptoms and symptom management, pacing and recovery
  • Building resilience and managing stress

When the timing is right, the program participant and their IPAR consultant can discuss returning to work and the steps that may help them get there. Evidence shows that making the decision to start earlier improves health outcomes. The flexibility with this program allows people to start by taking small steps toward their recovery.