More Australians are surviving cancer with death rates falling by 24% in the past 30 years and 68% of all people diagnosed with cancer surviving. Survival rates will continue to increase as treatment and genomic medicine and immunology improves. Despite the incredible improvements in survival rates, significant change in the way cancer survivors are discharged from care has not occurred. There needs to be a greater focus on supporting patients integrate back into regular life.
Many cancer survivors experience anxiety and fear relating to recurrence. They often struggle with ‘chemo fog’, cancer related fatigue, lymphedema, altered body image and significant grief. Returning to work is challenging.
Up to 38% of Australians never return to work following cancer treatment.
At AIA Australia (AIAA) we see the struggle our members have once they’re discharged from the healthcare system. To help address this we’ve developed CaRe™, a suite of services to assist people to return back to life post-cancer.
Here are three ways we’re making a difference:
1. Early intervention exercise physiology
There are many benefits in exercising during cancer treatment, including evidence of tumour suppression and reduced tumour presence, reduced fatigue associated with cancer treatment and improved chemotherapy completion rates.
That’s why we’re funding exercise physiology programs to help maintain work capacity once the claimant undergoes treatment. As a result, they have better health outcomes, reduced side effects and look after their mental health.
2. RESTORE CaRe™
AIAA have offered RESTORE™ programs for mental health claims since 2012. We’ve taken learnings from this program to develop RESTORE CaRe™, a program for cancer survivors to help them manage the unique challenges they face.
This holistic wellness program helps cancer patients and survivors overcome barriers preventing them from enjoying life and returning to work.
3. Return to Work (RTW) planning
Many cancer survivors look at life differently post diagnosis and look for new opportunities upon their return to the workplace. They may have reduced functional capacity post-treatment and often need to go back on a graded return to work plan. By providing occupational rehabilitation, we can assist them as they navigate the unique challenges they face when returning to work.
By providing this extensive suite of CaRe™ services we’re able to support our members the way they need to help them to return to work, wellness and life. Learn more about AIA Australia.
 Pedersen et al., Voluntary Running Suppresses Tumor Growth through Epinephrine- and IL-6-Dependent NK Cell Mobilization and Redistribution. Cell Metabolism, 2016; 23, 554–562
 Cramp F, Byron-Daniel J. Exercise for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD006145. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006145.pub3
 Courneya KS, Segal RJ, Mackey JR, et al. Effects of aerobic and resistance exercise in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2007; 25: 4396-4404
 Bradley, C. J. and H. L. Bednarek (2002) “Employment patterns of long-term cancer survivors.” Psycho-Oncology 11(3). Carter, O.