CCF-Funded Research Reveals Low-Income Women More Likely to Lose Jobs During Cancer Treatment

Dr. Victoria Blinder

Past Conquer Cancer Foundation Chair Dr. Martin Murphy with Dr. Victoria Blinder at the Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants and Awards Luncheon in 2010

February 9, 2017

Conquering cancer does not just happen inside a doctor’s office or hospital.  Most patients manage treatment alongside work, family, and the rest of life’s responsibilities.  For lower income women, a cancer diagnosis often leads to job – and health insurance – loss.

According to research by Victoria Blinder, MD, lower income women are more than four times as likely to lose their jobs during cancer treatment compared to higher income women. Blinder, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, studied a diverse group of breast cancer patients to determine that 43 percent of low-income women with breast cancer, those who can least afford to stop working, will lose their jobs.

Dr. Blinder is a two-time Conquer Cancer Foundation grant recipient. She credits a 2008 Young Investigator Award (YIA) for launching her research career.  A 2010 Career Development Award (CDA) funded the pilot program of her current research, which focuses on how a woman’s socioeconomic and professional status affects her work and livelihood during breast cancer treatment and as a survivor.

Our hope at CCF is that funding research like Dr. Blinder’s study will ultimately lead to better outcomes for all patients, everywhere.

Dr. Blinder is currently designing a mobile health app to improve communication skills in low-income breast cancer patients, so that they can negotiate for workplace accommodations and talk to their oncology providers about optimizing symptom control during treatment. The app will be completed later this year, and she is currently applying for funding to test its effectiveness. Health Affairs released Blinder’s manuscript on February 7, 2017. Read the abstract and access additional information on the study here.

Dr. Blinder’s Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Career Development Award was supported by Susan G. Komen®.