Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 49–58 | Cite as

Factors Related to Return to Work by Women with Breast Cancer in Northern France

  • Sophie Quinton FantoniEmail author
  • Charlotte Peugniez
  • Alain Duhamel
  • Joanna Skrzypczak
  • Paul Frimat
  • Ariane Leroyer


Introduction Earlier diagnosis and better treatment have increased the survival rates of breast cancer patients. This warrants research on return to work of cancer survivors, especially about subjective factors because they affect the mental desire to return to work. Moreover, knowledge in this issue is very limited in France. Objectives This study aims to explore the objective and subjective factors that affect whether and when women with breast cancer return to work. Methods 379 women with breast cancer aged 18–60 years who were working at the time of diagnosis responded to a 45 item questionnaire. The questionnaire had personal characteristics, disease-related characteristics and work-related ones. Multivariate logistic regressions were run to determine the association of these factors and return to work and time until return to work. Results During a median follow-up of 36 months, 82.1% of the 379 women who had worked before their diagnosis returned to work after a median sick leave of 10.8 months. Older age, lower educational level, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, lymphoedema, psychological or organizational self-perceived constraints related to their former job, and the lack of moral support from work colleagues both limited and delayed return to work. Conclusion The resumption of work by women with breast cancer depends on many factors, not all of them medical. The self-perceived factors must be considered: first to help support these women during their sick leave, while taking into account elements that may hinder early return to work; second to initiate a work resumption support process which takes into account both the person and her environment.


Breast-cancer Return to work Absence duration Self-perceived factors 



This study was conducted with logistic support from the University of Lille 2, through the H. WAREMBOURG Faculty of Medicine, the Occupational Medicine Laboratory, the Center for Advisory Resources in Occupational Health, the Unit of Occupational and Environmental Disease of the CHRU-ISTNF (Occupational Health Institute of Northern France), and financial support from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie Quinton Fantoni
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charlotte Peugniez
    • 2
  • Alain Duhamel
    • 3
  • Joanna Skrzypczak
    • 1
  • Paul Frimat
    • 3
  • Ariane Leroyer
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Occupational MedicineCHRU Lille, Université Lille 2Lille CedexFrance
  2. 2.Department of Breast DiseaseCentre Oscar Lambret, CHRU LilleLilleFrance
  3. 3.Department of Occupational MedicineUniversité Lille Nord de France, UDSL, CHRU LilleLille CedexFrance

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