Cancer survivorship and work: Symptoms, supervisor response, co-worker disclosure and work adjustment
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Introduction: Recent improvements in cancer treatment have not only increased cancer survivorship but also peoples’ ability to work during and following treatment. However, the impact that both diagnosis and treatment has on cancer survivors’ ability to fully engage in paid work is not yet entirely understood. This study aims to explore the role of symptoms, work adjustments and cancer disclosure to supervisors and co-workers on working during primary cancer treatment and return to work following treatment. Method: 328 cancer survivors responded to a 33 item questionnaire that assessed cancer-specific variables e.g. type and treatment, symptoms experienced during and following treatment, disclosure of cancer and adjustments and supports available at work. Multivariate logistic regressions were run to determine the association of symptoms, disclosure and work adjustments and working during treatment and returning to work following treatment. Results: The findings indicate that opportunities to work flexibly (OR=2.43, CI 1.21–4.02), disclosure to colleagues (OR=3.03, CI 1.28–8.19), difficulties managing fatigue (OR=2.08, CI 1.22–3.85), and paid time off to attend all medical appointments (OR=.4, CI .30–.87) were associated with continuing to work during treatment. Correlates of return to work included difficulties managing fatigue (OR=1.49, CI 1.42–6.18), managing the stress of cancer (OR=2.80, 1.05–5.34), managing physical changes associated with cancer (OR=.46, CI .13–.95), received advice from their doctor about work (OR=1.47, CI 1.09–2.84) and return to work meeting with employer (OR 1.99, 1.2–5.09). Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of symptom management in cancer survivors who work and the potential impact of workplace adjustments on the ability of cancer survivors to navigate in the world of work.
- Cancer Research UK. Statistics on the incidence of cancer 2001: Available from http://info.cancerresearchuk. org/cancerstats (25/03/2006).
- American Cancer Association. Leading sites of new cancer cases and deaths – 2005 estimates. Inc Surveillance Research; 2005.
- Bradley CJ, Bednarek HL. Employment patterns of long-term cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology 2002;11:188–98. CrossRef
- Spelten E, Sprangers M, Verbeek J. Factors reported to influence the return to work of cancer survivors: A literature review. Psycho-Oncology 2002;11:124–31. CrossRef
- National Cancer Institute. Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer 1975–2002. Journal of the National Cancer Institute; October 2005.
- Maunsell E, Brisson C, Dubois L, Lauzier S, Franser A. Work problems after breast cancer: An exploratory qualitative study. Psycho-Oncology 1999;8(6):467–73. CrossRef
- Short PF, Vasey JJ, Tunceli K. Employment pathways in a large cohort of adult cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology 2005;10:259–63.
- Van der Wouden JC, Greaves-Otte JGW, Greaevs J. Occupational reintegration of long-term cancer survivors. J Occup Med 1992;34:1083–9.
- Feuerstein M. Cancer survivorship and work. J Occup Rehabil 2005;15(1):1–2. CrossRef
- Chirikos TN, Russell-Jacobs A, Hacobsen PB. Functional impairment and the economic consequences of female breast cancer. Womens Health 2002;36:1–20. CrossRef
- Cella D, Tross S. Psychological adjustment to survival from Hodkin's disease. J Consult Clin Psychology 1986;54:616–22. CrossRef
- Spelten ER, Verbeek JHAM, Uitterhoeve ALJ, Ansink AC, van der Lelie J, de Reijke TM, Kammeijer M, de Haes JCJM, Sprangers MAG. Cancer, fatigue and the return of patients to work-a prospective cohort study. Eur J Cancer 2003;39(11):1562–7. CrossRef
- Ahles TA, Saykin AJ, Furstenberg CT, Cole B, Mott LA, Titus-Ernstoff L, Skalla K, Bakitas M, Silberfarb PM. Quality of life of long-term survivors of breast cancer and lymphoma treated with standard-dose chemotherapy or local therapy. J Clin Oncol 2005;23(19):4399–405. CrossRef
- Minisini A, Atalay G, Bottomley A, Puglusu F, Piccart M, Biganzoli L. What is the effect of systemic anticancer treatment on cognitive function? Lancet Oncol 2004;5(5):273–82. CrossRef
- Greenwald HP, Dirks SJ, Borgatta EF, McCorkle R, Nevitt MC, Telin EH. Work disability among cancer patients. Soc Sci Med 1998;29(11):1253–59. CrossRef
- Munir F, Jones D, Leka S, Griffiths AJ. Work limitations and employer adjustments for employees with chronic illness. Int J Rehabil Res 2005;28(2):111–7. CrossRef
- Thomson L, Neathey F, Rick J. Best practice in rehabilitating employees following absence due to work-related stress. Institute for Employment Studies, Research report 138. Brighton: UK; 2003.
- Bradley CJ, Neumark D, Bednarek HL, Schenk M. Short-term effects of breast cancer on labor market attachment: Results from a longitudinal study. J Health Econ 2005;24:137–60. CrossRef
- IRS. Rehabilitation: Return to work policies and practices. IRS Employ Rev 2001;741:40–7.
- Baanders AN, Andries F, Rijken PM, Dekker J. Work adjustments among the chronically ill. Int J Rehabil Res 2001;24:7–14. CrossRef
- Main DS, Nowels CT, Cavender TA, Etschmaier M, Steiner F. A qualitative study of work and work return in cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology 2005;14:992–1004. CrossRef
- Standard Occupational Classification, Second edition, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London; 1995.
- Hosmer DW, Lemeshow S. Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley & Sons; 1998.
- Cancer survivorship and work: Symptoms, supervisor response, co-worker disclosure and work adjustment
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Volume 17, Issue 1 , pp 83-92
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- Industry Sectors