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Work in cancer survivors: a model for practice and research

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Abstract

Introduction

As with other illnesses, several variables can impact the transition back to the workplace, long-term work productivity, or job retention among cancer survivors. We developed a model related to work and cancer based in part on the general area of work disability and the specific literature on cancer survivors and work.

Methods

A systematic search of the literature on work and cancer was conducted to determine whether an evidence base existed to support the proposed model.

Results

Forty-five papers met the review criteria. The percentage of studies that addressed modifiable categories included in the proposed model was: health and well-being (20%), symptoms (16%), function (24%), work demands (9%), work environment (18%), and policy, procedures, and economic factors (16%). Return to work was the most common work outcome studied although problems with productivity and retention are reported in the general cancer and work literature. Wide variation in definition of cancer survivor was reported and breast cancer survivors were studied most often. Each of the categories in the model has some empirical support.

Discussion

The model considers the health, functional status in relation to demands, work environment, and policy, procedures, and financial factors. The model allows the clinician and survivor to consider factors that can be addressed by the health care provider, survivor, and workplace. Implications for Cancer Survivors. This model provides a framework to aid in conceptualizing problems related to work.

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Acknowledgement

In preparation of this model the authors received many thoughtful comments. We want to thank Cathy J. Bradley, PhD, Angela de Boer, PhD, Patricia A. Ganz, MD, Patrick Loisel, MD, Glenn Pransky, MD, MOcc, Izabela Z. Schultz, PhD, William Shaw, PhD, Taina Taskila, PhD, and Jos Verbeek, MD. The insightful feedback received greatly helped the authors think more clearly about this problem. We thank them for their time. However, the authors of this paper are solely to blame for omissions or faulty thinking.

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Correspondence to Michael Feuerstein.

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The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as being official or as reflecting the views of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the Department of Defense.

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Feuerstein, M., Todd, B.L., Moskowitz, M.C. et al. Work in cancer survivors: a model for practice and research. J Cancer Surviv 4, 415–437 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-010-0154-6

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