Skip to main content

Vocational services associated with competitive employment in 18–25 year old cancer survivors

Abstract

Background

Young adult cancer survivors report difficulties related to employment. This study investigated the association of vocational services on work in young cancer survivors unemployed prior to receipt of services.

Methods

Administrative data obtained for years 2004 and 2005 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) database was used in the analyses. A total of 368 cases aged 18–25 who were closed during the 2 years with a diagnosis of cancer were identified. All cancer survivors were unemployed at the time of application. Data on demographic characteristics, employment and vocational services were extracted and analyzed in relation to employment. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationship among services provided and work outcomes accounting for demographic characteristics.

Results

Cancer survivors represented 0.4% of the total population that received vocational services in the state-federal vocational rehabilitation system. Of the unemployed cancer survivors who received services, 190 (51.6%) achieved successful employment while 178 (48.4%) were not employed following receipt of vocational rehabilitation services. Gender (woman) (OR = 1.79; 95% CI: 1.16 to 2.76), vocational training (OR = 2.03; 95% CI: 1.03 to 4.00), miscellaneous training (OR = 4.01; 95% CI: 1.80 to 8.97), job search assistance (OR = 4.01; 95% CI: 1.80 to 8.97), job placement services (OR = 2.24; 95% CI: 1.11 to 4.52), on-the-job support (OR = 4.20; 95% CI: 1.66 to 10.63), and maintenance services (OR = 2.85; 95% CI: 1.38 to 5.90) were all related to an increased odds for employment. Provision of cash or medical benefits (e.g., Social Security Disability Insurance benefits) (OR = 0.43; 95% CI: 0.28 to 0.67) was associated with lower employment following vocational services.

Conclusion

Very few young adult cancer survivors were involved in the state-federal rehabilitation program. Despite this, the provision of certain vocational rehabilitation services was related to increased employment in this group. Those who received job search assistance and on the job support were four times more likely to be employed following such services. While those in receipt of benefits were less likely to be employed, it is very likely that those receiving such benefits are the more severe cases. It is worth noting that the exact direction of these relationships can not be determined with the current design.

Implications for cancer survivors

Young adult cancer survivors who are seeking employment and can qualify for such services may benefit from certain services offered by state vocational rehabilitation agencies. This represents another service to consider when employment is a goal.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Armstrong GT, Liu Q, Yasui Y, Huang S, Ness KK, Leisenring W, et al. Long-term outcomes among adult survivors of childhood central nervous system malignancies in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. J Natl Canc Inst. 2009;101(13):946–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Crom DB, Lensing SY, Rai SN, Snider MA, Cash DK, Hudson MM. Marriage, employment, and health insurance in adult survivors of childhood cancer. J Cancer Surviv. 2007;1(3):237–45.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Pang JWY, Friedman DL, Whitton JA, Stovall M, Mertens AC, Robison LL, et al. Employment status among adult survivors in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2008;50(1):104–10.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    de Boer AGEM, Verbeek JHAM, van Dijk FJH. Adult survivors of childhood cancer and unemployment: a metaanalysis. Cancer. 2006;107(1):1–11.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Bradley CJ, Bednarek HL. Employment patterns of long-term cancer survivors. Psychooncology. 2002;11(3):188–98.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Punyko JA, Gurney JG, Scott Baker K, Hayashi RJ, Hudson MM, Liu Y, et al. Physical impairment and social adaptation in adult survivors of childhood and adolescent rhabdomyosarcoma: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivors Study. Psychooncology. 2007;16(1):26–37.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Hoffman B. Cancer survivors at work: a generation of progress. CA Cancer J Clin. 2005;55(5):271–80.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Patterson JB, Szymanski EM, Parker RM. Rehabilitation counseling profession. In: Parker RM, Szymanski EM, Patterson JB, editors. Rehabilitation counseling: basics and beyond (ed 4). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed; 2005. p. 1–26.

  9. 9.

    Mundy R, Moore S, Mundy G. A missing link: rehabilitation counseling for persons with cancer. J Rehabil. 1992;58(2):47–9.

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Szymanski EM, Parker RM. Work and disability: issues and strategies in career development and job placement (ed. 2). Austin, TX: Pro-ed; 2003.

  11. 11.

    Taskila T, Lindbohm ML. Factors affecting cancer survivors’ employment and work ability. Acta Oncol. 2007;46(4):446–51.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Morrell J, Pryce J. Work and cancer: how cancer affects working lives. CancerBACUP: Ashford Colour; 2005.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Bouknight RR, Bradley CJ, Luo Z. Correlates of return to work for breast cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol. 2006;24(3):345–53.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Taskila T, Martikainen R, Hietanen P, Lindbohm ML. Comparative study of work ability between cancer survivors and their referents. Eur J Cancer. 2007;43(5):914–20.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Henderson PA. Psychosocial adjustment of adult cancer survivors: their needs and counselor interventions. J Couns Dev. 1997;75(3):188–94.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Main DS, Nowels CT, Cavender TA, Etschmaier M, Steiner JF. A qualitative study of work and work return in cancer survivors. Psychooncology. 2005;14(11):992–1005.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Tolley NS. Oncology social work, family systems theory and workplace consultations. Health Soc Work. 1994;19(3):227–30.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Green DM, Zevon MA, Hall B. Achievement of life goals by adult survivors of modern treatment for childhood cancer. Cancer. 1991;67(1):206–13.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Nachreiner NM, Dagher RK, McGovern PM, Baker BA, Alexander BH, Gerberich SG. Successful return to work for cancer survivors. AAOHN J. 2007;55(7):290–5.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Chan F, Strauser D, da Silva Cardoso E, Zheng LX, Chan JYC, Feuerstein M. State vocational services and employment in cancer survivors. J Cancer Surviv. 2008;2(3):169–78.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Bolton BF, Bellini JL, Brookings JB. Predicting client employment outcomes from personal history, functional limitations, and rehabilitation services. Rehabil Couns Bull. 2000;44(1):10–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by funding from the Rehabilitation Research Institute for Underrepresented Populations (National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant #H133A031705) at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Strauser.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Strauser, D., Feuerstein, M., Chan, F. et al. Vocational services associated with competitive employment in 18–25 year old cancer survivors. J Cancer Surviv 4, 179–186 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-010-0119-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Young adult cancer survivors
  • Vocational services
  • Employment