, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 335-341,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 28 Jul 2011

Return to Work After Cancer Diagnosed in 2002, 2005 and 2008

Abstract

Introduction Improvements in diagnosis and treatment of cancer have increased cancer survival. This study investigated the trends in return to work (RTW) after cancer. Methods All employees absent from work due to cancer diagnosed in 2002 (N = 1209), 2005 (N = 1522), and 2008 (N = 1556) were selected from an occupational health service register. Partial RTW was defined as resuming work with 50% of earnings and full RTW as resuming work with 100% of earnings. The percentages of partial and full RTW were determined 2 years after reporting sick and compared with percentages of partial and full RTW after cardiovascular disorders. The time to partial and full RTW after cancer in 2005 and 2008 was compared with the time to RTW in 2002. Results Partial RTW decreased from 85% 2 years after cancer diagnosis in 2002 to 80% in 2005 and 69% in 2008. Full RTW decreased from 80% 2 years after cancer diagnosis in 2002 to 74% in 2005 and 60% in 2008. RTW after cardiovascular disorders showed similar changes. The time to partial RTW in 2008 was longer than in 2002 after gastrointestinal cancer and lung cancer. The time to full RTW in 2008 was longer than in 2002 after breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer and lung cancer. Conclusions In the past decade, the percentages of employees who resumed work after cancer have decreased in The Netherlands, while the time to RTW increased. Possible explanations include changes in disability policy, economic decline, and resulting decreases in work latitude and workplace accommodations.