CancerAid - supporting employees after a cancer diagnosis

Aon and CancerAid have joined forces to help organisations provide support to employees after a cancer diagnosis.

According to Aon's 2021 Global Medical Trend Rates Report, cancer is the second most common medical condition driving health insurance claims globally. It is also the leading burden of disease in Australia1, with around 15% of the workforce impacted every day2.

However, few employers have the knowledge or resources to support employees affected by cancer, leaving people anxious and isolated from the workplace during a time of great need.

The productivity losses, administrative costs, poor morale and rising salary continuation premiums that can arise from cancer have a significant financial impact3.
Help in the moments that matter 

A recent study found that 52% of cancer patients in Australia want to return to work - but 44% say they lack the support to do so4.
Too often, leaders encourage employees to take extended leave after a cancer diagnosis, creating unintended consequences, including disengagement, unnecessary disruption and, for those who wish to continue working, the sense that management lacks empathy.

Now employers can support employees on the journey back to work and wellness during their cancer treatment, while minimising disruptions and financial impacts.

Established by leading Australian oncologists and researchers, CancerAid helps employees diagnosed with cancer take an active role in their health and recovery.

  • Employment is proven to positively impact cancer survivors’ quality of life, self-esteem and personal finances5
  • ​52% of employees say they may have been able to return to work sooner if they had received better support while battling cancer6

The Australian health system provides excellent clinical support for cancer patients. But there is another side to cancer care. The disease itself and its treatments, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy, cause symptoms and side effects that are usually self-managed at home. Without the right support, self-management can be daunting, as patients are typically also dealing with grief, fear and a loss of control.

While many employers offer counselling and wellbeing initiatives, programs typically focus on general wellness and few provide expert cancer care that’s tailored to the individual.
How does CancerAid work? 

With the powerful effect of coaching, which has been proven to positively impact cancer recovery outcomes7, CancerAid participants are provided with a dedicated health coach. Using behavioural change principles and accountability toward health-promoting activities such as exercise, meditation and diet, participants become more pro-active and engaged in the recovery process. Participants also have access to content, such as educational videos and wellbeing material, via the CancerAid app.

Results show:

  • Cancer patients using CancerAid report an 87% experience improvement in achieving their health goals4
  • ​Participants return to work on average 4 weeks earlier8

CancerAid works with employers to align programs with pre-existing initiatives, so employees can sustainably return to work post-diagnosis. Employers retain experienced workers, ensure workforce continuity, minimise productivity losses and demonstrate an empathetic, employee-first culture.

  • 83% of participants report improved trust and confidence in their employer after taking part in the program4
  • ​Employers can realise a 10% reduction in salary continuation claims costs from deploying the CancerAid Coach Program8

Support for carers

Through Aon, CancerAid also offers support for employees who are caring for someone with cancer, an intense experience that can impact the carer’s own health and wellbeing.

With guidance from CancerAid, employers also learn how to approach sensitive topics, how to manage the emotional and mental health impact on teams, and how to provide flexible scheduling and recognition to carers who may otherwise lack support.

For more information on CancerAid, contact us


1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020
2. Includes people diagnosed with cancer and those caring for a cancer patient
3. A Cancer Council NSW 2005 study shows that cancer costs an organisation approximately $55,000 (accounting for inflation) per person diagnosed 
4. CancerAid’s internal analysis (January 2021) of over 1,000 working age Australians Boer AG. The European cancer and work network: CANWON. Journal of occupational rehabilitation 2014; 24 (3): 393-8
6.Unum’s 2019 survey of 300 employees diagnosed with cancer
7.Barakat S et al. Does Health Coaching Grow Capacity in Cancer Survivors? A Systematic Review. Popul Health Manag 2018; 21(1):63-81 
8.Ballurkar K et al. Feasibility and acceptability of a digital and telephone health coaching program to promote improved return to work outcomes in a cohort of Australian cancer patients. Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference: March 2020 


CancerAid Coach Program

2021 Global Medical Trend Rates Report

Webinar Recording - Cancer in the workplace: how to support employees