Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 213–220 | Cite as

The impact of sociodemographic, treatment, and work support on missed work after breast cancer diagnosis

  • Mahasin S. MujahidEmail author
  • Nancy K. Janz
  • Sarah T. Hawley
  • Jennifer J. Griggs
  • Ann S. Hamilton
  • Steven J. Katz


Work loss is a potential adverse consequence of cancer. There is limited research on patterns and correlates of paid work after diagnosis of breast cancer, especially among ethnic minorities. Women with non-metastatic breast cancer diagnosed from June 2005 to May 2006 who reported to the Los Angeles County SEER registry were identified and asked to complete the survey after initial treatment (median time from diagnosis = 8.9 months). Latina and African American women were over-sampled. Analyses were restricted to women working at the time of diagnosis, <65 years of age, and who had complete covariate information (N = 589). The outcome of the study was missed paid work (≤1 month, >1 month, stopped all together). Approximately 44, 24, and 32% of women missed ≤1 month, >1 month, or stopped working, respectively. African Americans and Latinas were more likely to stop working when compared with Whites [OR for stop working vs. missed ≤1 month: 3.0, 3.4, (P < 0.001), respectively]. Women receiving mastectomy and those receiving chemotherapy were also more likely to stop working, independent of sociodemographic and treatment factors [ORs for stopped working vs. missed ≤1 month: 4.2, P < 0.001; 7.9, P < 0.001, respectively]. Not having a flexible work schedule available through work was detrimental to working [ORs for stopped working 18.9, P < 0.001 after adjusting for sociodemographic and treatment factors]. Many women stop working altogether after a diagnosis of breast cancer, particularly if they are racial/ethnic minorities, receive chemotherapy, or those who are employed in an unsupportive work settings. Health care providers need to be aware of these adverse consequences of breast cancer diagnosis and initial treatment.


Breast cancer Survivorship Employment Multi-ethnic sample 



The study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (1R01CA109696) to the University of Michigan. Dr. Katz was supported by an Established Investigator Award in Cancer Prevention, Control, Behavioral and Population Sciences from the National Cancer Institute (K05 CA111340). The collection of cancer incidence data used in this study was supported by the California Department of Public Health as part of the statewide cancer reporting program mandated by California Health and Safety Code Sect. 103885; the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program under contract N01-PC-35139 awarded to the University of Southern California, contract N01-PC-54404 awarded to the Public Health Institute; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries, under agreement 1U58DP00807-01 awarded to the Public Health Institute. The ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and endorsement by the State of California, Department of Public Health the National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their Contractors and Subcontractors is not intended nor should be inferred.

The authors thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program for its financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahasin S. Mujahid
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nancy K. Janz
    • 2
  • Sarah T. Hawley
    • 3
  • Jennifer J. Griggs
    • 3
  • Ann S. Hamilton
    • 4
  • Steven J. Katz
    • 3
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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