Cancer Support UK introduces new workplace course to train businesses to support employees affected by cancer

by | Sep 29, 2022

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If a work colleague told you they had cancer how would you respond? This scenario is fast becoming a reality, as by 2030 it is estimated that 1.5million people of working age will be living with cancer.

The impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on an individual’s mental health is significant, yet 85% of employees with a cancer diagnosis want to carry on working.

Knowing how to conduct a difficult conversation about cancer, and support those with cancer in the workplace, is at the heart of a new training programme – the Cancer Support Ambassador course – introduced by cancer wellbeing experts Cancer Support UK.

Developed by Cancer Support UK specifically to give individuals in an organisation the confidence and skills to support colleagues facing cancer, the Cancer Support Ambassador training provides a high-level introduction to cancer and cancer treatments.

The half day course covers the physical and emotional side effects of both cancer and cancer treatments. Most importantly, it contains tools and strategies that equip workplace cancer support ambassadors with the necessary skills and principles to have supportive conversations with individuals experiencing emotional turmoil due to or caused by the effects of cancer.

The training also provides personal wellbeing and resilience guidance, which participants can make use of after difficult conversations.

Cancer Support UK will implement bespoke Cancer Support Ambassador training schemes for organisations on request – contact Olivia Gray, Head of Learning and Development: olivia@cancersupportuk.org. Tel: 07763630954.

Autumn training dates

Alternatively, up to three people from one organisation can join a half day course, on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 18 October 1pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday 15 November 10am to 1pm

Marie Gardner, who works as a Cancer Coach volunteer for Cancer Support UK, has been key in developing the Ambassador training. She says:

“When you are supporting someone going through cancer, it’s vital that you work with the other person’s agenda. You need to recognise that for many, having a conversation in the workplace about their illness can be challenging. The ability to listen is absolutely key and understanding where the person is in their thought process allows you to work out how best to help them. As a Cancer UK Ambassador, you don’t need to have the answers. The best support you can give is to listen deeply, question sensitively and show empathy.”

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