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Business leaders discuss cancer’s costs, company’s responses



Cancer costs the U.S. $263.8 billion annually in medical costs and lost productivity, and 80 percent of cancer patients have to drain their savings to cover treatment and other costs associated with the disease. It was with those costs — and cancer’s human toll — in mind that a panel of business leaders from the St. Louis area gathered Tuesday at a St. Louis Business Journal seminar about cancer in the workplace.

More than 50 percent of people diagnosed with cancer are of working age, and the panelists discussed how their companies work to support employees with cancer. It’s key to create a caring culture, they said.

Cushman & Wakefield partnered with a concierge provider to make sure employees are connected to the right services “right from the start,” said Kari Ortbals, vice president of human resources benefits for the company.

Mark Lindgren, senior vice president of communications and human resources at Ameren, said the company has put a new focus on helping caregivers of those with cancer.

“It’s really about trying to create a culture where your coworkers feel like the organization cares … a culture where the employee knows they are going to be met with understanding and flexibility,” he said.

Read more: St. Louis Business Journal

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