Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 210-218

Employment experience of cancer survivors 2 years post-diagnosis in the Study of Cancer Survivors-I

  • Miao YuAffiliated withYale School of Public Health
  • , Leah M. FerrucciAffiliated withYale School of Public Health
  • , Ruth McCorkleAffiliated withYale School of NursingYale Cancer Center
  • , Elizabeth ErcolanoAffiliated withYale School of Nursing
  • , Tenbroeck SmithAffiliated withAmerican Cancer Society Behavioral Research Center
  • , Kevin D. SteinAffiliated withAmerican Cancer Society Behavioral Research Center
  • , Brenda CartmelAffiliated withYale School of Public HealthYale Cancer Center Email author 

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A large percentage of cancer survivors are in the workforce and it is important to understand their experiences and challenges in the workplace and work status changes.


We utilized multivariate logistic regression to evaluate sociodemographic, clinical, and psychosocial measures as potential predictors of having at least one negative work-related experience and reporting a reduction in workload among cancer survivors 2 years post-diagnosis in the longitudinal Study of Cancer Survivors-I.


Many cancer survivors (62%) reported having at least one negative work-related experience 2 years post-diagnosis; they were more likely to be male (OR = 1.70, 95% CI = 1.32–2.18), have lower household income (>$80,000 vs. <$20,000; OR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.35–0.79), be farther from diagnosis (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.02–1.10), and have deteriorating physical (OR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.94–0.98) and mental (OR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.92–0.96) health. Among those employed full-time 1 year post-diagnosis, older age (65+ vs. <55; OR = 2.71, 95% CI = 1.18–6.24), negative work-related experiences (2+ vs. 0; OR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.00–3.14), and deteriorating physical (OR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.90–0.95) and mental (OR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.95–0.99) health were associated with reporting a reduced workload 2 years post-diagnosis.


Several sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics were associated with negative work-related experiences and reduced workload in this population of cancer survivors who were working 1 to 2 years post-diagnosis. Additional research is needed to determine if these experiences and predictors are consistent in other cancer survivor populations.

Implications for cancer survivors

Being aware that some working cancer survivors may have negative work-related experiences and/or may not maintain full employment in later survivorship years may enable cancer survivors and employers to improve survivors’ experiences at work.


Employment Cancer survivors Psychosocial