Cancer

Juillet 2021

Exploration of interventions to enhance return-to-work for cancer patients: A scoping review.

Purpose With the increasing incidence and earlier onset of cancer, more and more cancer patients are facing the problems of return-to-work. This review is to explore the types, contents, and results of return-to-work interventions for cancer patients. Methods This scoping review followed Arksey and O'Malley's framework and PRISMA-ScR List. Three Chinese databases and five English databases were searched from the establishment of databases to 31 March, 2021. Article selection and data extraction were conducted by two researchers. Results Thirty-two studies and 1916 cancer patients with mainly breast and gastrointestinal cancer were included. According to the contents, interventions could be divided into four types: (1) physical interventions ( n  = 6), including high-intensity exercise, low-to-moderate intensity exercise, yoga, and upper limb functional training, (2) psychological interventions ( n  = 2), including early active individualized psychosocial support and mindfulness-based recovery, (3) vocational interventions ( n  = 14), including making work plans, educational leaflets, vocational consultations, electronic health intervention, and interventions targeting at employers, (4) multidisciplinary interventions ( n  = 10), including any combination of above interventions. Physical exercises, making working plans, vocational consultations, educational leaflets, two combinations of vocational and physical interventions were validated to have positive results in enhancing cancer patients' return-to-work. Conclusions Return-to-work interventions for cancer patients are diversified and can be divided into physical, psychological, vocational, and multidisciplinary interventions. Medical staffs can utilize physical exercises, making working plans, vocational consultation, educational leaflets, combinations of vocational and physical interventions to enhance cancer patients' return-to-work. Other interventions still need to be developed and validated.

Source: Guo YJ, Tang J, Li JM, Zhu LL, Xu JS, Clinical rehabilitation, 2021 Jul 06, pp. 2692155211021706

Conflicting Demands, Coping, and Adjustment: A Grounded Theory to Understand Rehabilitation Processes in Long-Term Breast Cancer Survivors.

Purpose This study explores rehabilitation processes in long-term cancer survivors (CSs) and explains the causes, contexts, and consequences under which decisions related to rehabilitation are made. Methods Within the mixed-methods Breast Cancer Patients' Return to Work (B-CARE) project, conducted from 2018-2020, data were collected through a written survey and semi-structured interviews with CSs 5-6 years after their diagnosis. In total, 184 female CSs participated in the survey, and 26 were interviewed. A qualitative grounded theory approach was applied. Results The 26 interviewees were 57 years old on average, 70% were married, and 65% had children. The participants experienced incompatibilities caused by the cancer disease in their areas of life and the demands that arose from it. To reconcile demands from the areas family, work, leisure time, household, and disease, the interviewed CSs used different coping mechanisms and adjusted their lives by prioritizing certain areas as a consequence. This prioritizing was often to the detriment of work and rehabilitation. Furthermore, it worked as a barrier for participation in rehabilitation programs and explains why CSs experienced job changes after their return to work. Conclusions Physical and mental long-term effects were observed in the interviewees' lives 5-6 years into survival. The study results stress the importance of individualized and needs-oriented survivorship care. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Source: Hiltrop K, Heidkamp P, Breidenbach C, Kowalski C, Streibelt M, Ernstmann N, Psycho-oncology, 2021 Jul 17

 

A multidisciplinary working model for promoting return to work of cancer survivors.

Purpose Despite wide recognition of the necessity of an integrative maintenance and return to work (RTW) program for cancer survivors, no such program has been described in the literature. Aims: To examine a working model of an integrative multidisciplinary health care approach for promoting RTW, using the Delphi method. Methods A working model for promoting cancer survivors' RTW by oncology health professionals was subjected to two rounds of evaluation by an expert panel in accordance with the Delphi research method. Twenty-six international experts in oncology (social workers, nurses, psychologists, physicians, and cancer patients) participated in the first round and 16 participated in the second round. Results The mean score of the working model's applicability was 6.07 (SD = 1.07, range = 1-7). The model outlines in detail an integrative approach for promotion of RTW according to two axes: the oncology health professionals' role and the timeline axis featuring four stages of oncology treatment and follow-up. Conclusions Our proposed model addresses the need for an integrated program that may increase the rate of RTW and improve the quality of life of cancer survivors. The model should be subjected to further evaluation, especially its adaptability to different health systems in different countries.

Source: Cohen M, Yagil D, Carel R, Supportive care in cancer, 2021 Sep; Vol. 29 (9), pp. 5151-5160

Juin 2021

Effectiveness of a Tailored Work-Related Support Intervention for Patients Diagnosed with Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.

Purpose The aim of this research was to study the effectiveness on return to work (RTW) of an early tailored work-related support intervention in patients diagnosed with curative gastrointestinal cancer. Methods A multicenter randomized controlled trial was undertaken, in which patients were assigned randomly to the intervention or the control group (usual care). The intervention encompassed three psychosocial work-related support meetings, starting before treatment. Five self-reported questionnaires were sent over twelve months of follow-up. Primary outcome was days until RTW (fulltime or partial) and secondary outcomes included work status, quality of life, work ability, and work limitations. Descriptive analysis, Kaplan-Meier analysis, relative risk ratio and linear mixed models were applied. Results Participants (N = 88) had a mean age of 55 years; 67% were male and the most common cancer type was colon cancer (66%). Of the participants, 42 were randomized to the intervention group. The median time from sick leave until RTW was 233 days (range 187-279 days) for the control group, versus 190 days (range 139-240 days) for the intervention group (log-rank p = 0.37). The RTW rate at twelve months after baseline was 83.3% for the intervention group and 73.5% for the control group. Work limitations did statistically differ between the groups over time (p = 0.01), but quality of life and work ability did not. Conclusion Patients in the intervention group seem to take fewer days to RTW, albeit not to a statistically significant extent.

Source: Zaman ACGNM, Tytgat KMAJ, Klinkenbijl JHG, Boer FCD, Brink MA, Brinkhuis JC, Bruinvels DJ, Dol LCM, van Duijvendijk P, Hemmer PHJ, Lamme B, Loosveld OJL, Mok MM, Rejda T, Rutten H, Schoorlemmer A, Sonneveld DJ, Stassen LPS, Veenstra RP, van de Ven A, Velzing ER, Frings-Dresen MHW, de Boer AGEM, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Jun; Vol. 31 (2), pp. 323-338

The Use and Perceived Usefulness of an Online Toolbox Targeted at Employers (MiLES Intervention) for Enhancing Successful Return to Work of Cancer Survivors.

Purpose The MiLES intervention is a web-based intervention targeted at employers with the objective of enhancing successful return to work (RTW) of cancer survivors. The aim of this study is to gain insight into the employers' use and perceived usefulness of the MiLES intervention. Methods Employer representatives (e.g. Human Resource managers and supervisors) were given access to the MiLES intervention, which contains, among others, interactive videos, conversation checklists and tailored tips. After six weeks, an online questionnaire gathered data on employers' use and the perceived usefulness of the intervention. In-depth qualitative data on these topics were gathered during semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed using a content analysis. Results Thirty-one eligible employers were included. Twenty-two of them filled out the questionnaire and twenty were interviewed. Typically, employers used the intervention 2-3 times, for 26 min per visit. The usefulness of the intervention scored 7.6 out of 10 points, and all employers would recommend it to colleagues. Employers' use decreased when support needs were low and when the intervention did not correspond with their specific situation (e.g. complex reintegration trajectories). Employers perceived the intervention to be supporting and practically oriented. They appreciated the fact that the intervention was web-based and combined visual and textual content. The possibility of consulting specialized services for complex situations would further enhance its usefulness. Conclusion The MiLES intervention provides employers with a useful tool in their daily practice. Its effectiveness for enhancing employers' managerial skills and cancer survivors' successful RTW is subject for further research.

Source: Greidanus MA, de Rijk AE, Frings-Dresen MHW, Tiedtke CM, Brouwers S, de Boer AGEM, Tamminga SJ, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Jun; Vol. 31 (2), pp. 393-404

The assessment of returning to work following treatment and the associated personal, disease, and treatment factors among breast cancer survivors in central China.

Purpose To assess the status of returning to work (RTW) following breast cancer treatment and to explore its associated factors among female patients. Methods Four-hundred-forty-two eligible patients admitted in a tertiary hospital since 2012 were followed up in 2018. Information about working status after treatment, date of RTW or reason for not RTW was obtained during a 30-min interview. Patients' sociodemographic, disease, and treatment characteristics were retrieved from the hospital record. Overall prevalence rate and probability of RTW during the follow-up were estimated using Kaplan-Meier method. Factors associated with RTW were identified using regression analyses. Results Three-hundred-ninety-six patients (89.6%) completed the follow-up. The median follow-up was 31 months. Among them, 141 patents (35.6%) RTW of whom 68.1% (n = 96) were back within 12 months after cancer treatment. The reported reasons for not RTW included: prolonged fatigue, low self-esteem, lack of support from family and working unit, or voluntarily quitting. Patients aged under 50 years, being single, having higher level of education, not having extensive axillary node procedure, or without any comorbidities were more likely to RTW. Conclusion The rate of RTW after cancer treatment in this cohort was lower than those reported in others. Both personal and treatment factors were associated with RTW.

Source: Li M, Gao J, Li M, Wang L, Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 2021 Jun 16

Perspectives on returning to work of multiple myeloma patients: A qualitative interview study.

Purpose Multiple myeloma (MM) is a rare and incurable disease. Because new treatments improved survival rates, return to work (RTW) became more relevant to MM patients of working age. Also, (health care) experts may be confronted with specific obstacles in guiding MM patients' RTW. Therefore, we aimed to qualitatively explore perspectives and experiences of MM patients and (health care) experts regarding RTW and participation at work. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients (N = 9) and (health care) experts (N = 15). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Results Four themes resulted from the interviews with patients and (health care) experts: (1) severity of diagnosis and treatment impact RTW, (2) step-by-step reintegration facilitates RTW, (3) meaning of work differs between MM patients and experts and (4) lack of tailored counselling by experts. Conclusion Although MM patients' work ability may be limited due to the severity of diagnosis and side effects from treatment, most patients consider RTW important. Both patients and (health care) experts emphasise the benefits from early work ability assessment (in the hospital setting) and specialised RTW counselling, especially in those with physically demanding jobs.

Source: Bennink C, van der Klift M, Scheurer H, Sonneveld P, Duijts SFA, European journal of cancer care, 2021 Jun 21, pp. e13481

Life expectancy estimations and determinants of return to work among cancer survivors over a 7-year period.

Purpose Due to advances in medical science and technology, the number of cancer survivors continues to increase. The workplace needs and employment difficulties cancer survivors face after treatment need to be addressed to protect these individuals' right to work and to maintain the overall labor force of the country. Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort study with a follow-up period from 2004 to 2010. All data analyzed in the study were obtained from the Labor Insurance Database, the Taiwan Cancer Registry of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the National Health Insurance Research Database. The relationships between risk factors and the presence of returning to work were analyzed by a Cox proportional hazard model. The survival rates of patients with different cancer stages were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Results Among the employees with an initial diagnosis of cancer, 70.4% remained employed through 1 year after the diagnosis, accounting for 83.4% of all cancer survivors; only 51.1% remained employed through 5 years after the diagnosis, accounting for 78.7% of all cancer survivors, a notable decrease. Age, gender, salary, treatment method, company size, and cancer stage were the factors that affected whether employees could return to work or not. Conclusions The long-term survival of people diagnosed with cancer depends on their chances of returning to work. Strengthening existing return-to-work policies and assisting cancer survivors with returning to work after the treatment should be priorities for protecting these individuals' right to work and for maintaining the overall labor force.

Source: Chen WL, Chen YY, Wu WT, Ho CL, Wang CC, Scientific reports, 2021 Jun 18; Vol. 11 (1), pp. 12858

Mai 2021

Return to work of breast cancer survivors: toward an integrative and transactional conceptual model.

Purpose To propose a conceptual framework of the return to work (RTW) of breast cancer survivors (BCS) according to the transactional perspective. Methods The Technique for Research of Information by Animation of a Group of Experts was implemented. For each determinant in an initial list established from the literature, experts selected for the consensus exercise were firstly asked to indicate their agreement level individually, via an online questionnaire. Determinants obtaining an agreement level of 80% or over during this first phase were retained. Determinants obtaining an agreement level below 80%, and additional determinants proposed by the experts, were then discussed collectively. After discussion, experts voted via a new online questionnaire to retain (or not) each determinant. Determinants obtaining an agreement level of 80% or over after this second phase were retained. Based on the determinants selected, a conceptual model was developed following the transactional approach. Results Eleven experts participated in the study. Forty of the 51 determinants listed initially from the literature achieved an agreement level over 80%, and 20 were added after the individual consultation phase. Twenty-two of the 31 determinants discussed collectively were retained. In total, 62 determinants were selected to construct the conceptual model. Conclusions This integrative, operational, and transactional conceptual model of the RTW of BCS, constructed following an expert consensus, will help to design more efficient patient-centered intervention studies. Identification of the 62 determinants associated with the RTW of BCS will help design tools that are easily used by all stakeholders involved in the RTW process.

Source: Porro B, Durand MJ, Petit A, Bertin M, Roquelaure Y, Journal of cancer survivorship: research and practice, 2021 May 05

Supporting Self-Employed Cancer Survivors to Continue Working: Experiences of Social Welfare Counsellors and Survivors.

Purpose Few studies have investigated the support needed or received by self-employed cancer survivors to continue working. In Norway, the Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) is responsible for supporting people both practically and financially to continue or return to work following ill health. Social welfare counsellors (NAV counsellors) are responsible for guiding workers in their effort to return to work. This study aimed to investigate NAV counsellors' experiences of supporting self-employed cancer survivors. We also report how self-employed people experienced the support they received from NAV during and after cancer treatment. Methods We conducted individual in-depth interviews among seven self-employed cancer survivors and seven NAV counsellors with experience in supporting self-employed cancer survivors. Results The survivors experienced NAV as largely absent and considered that the support offered was not very useful. The NAV counsellors stated that self-employed workers are in a difficult situation and that regulations and means of support were primarily designed to fit salaried workers. While they felt they were supposed to function as an "employer" for the self-employed, they found this difficult because of lack of time, expertise and means for supporting self-employed. Conclusion These findings suggest that the social welfare system in Norway is not adapted to support sick self-employed people appropriately.

Source: Torp S, Brusletto B, Nygaard B, Withbro TB, Sharp L, International journal of environmental research and public health, 2021 Apr 15; Vol. 18 (8)

Risk factors for return to work in colorectal cancer survivors

Purpose The increasing incidence of colorectal cancer among individuals in the productive age-group has adversely affected the labor force and increased healthcare expenses in recent years. Return to work (RTW) is an important issue for these patients. In this study, we explored the factors that influence RTW and investigated the influence of RTW on survival outcomes of patients with colorectal cancer. Methods Data of individuals (N = 4408) in active employment who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 2004 and 2010 were derived from 2 nationwide databases. Subjects were categorized into 2 groups according to their employment status at 5-year follow-up. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the factors associated with RTW. Survivors were further followed up for another 8 years. Propensity score matching was applied to ensure comparability between the two groups, and survival analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Results In multivariable regression analysis for 5-year RTW with different characteristics, older age (OR: 0.57 [95% CI, 0.48-0.69]; p < 0.001), treatment with radiotherapy (OR: 0.69 [95% CI, 0.57-0.83]; p < 0.001), higher income (OR: 0.39 [95% CI, 0.32-0.47]; p < 0.001), medium company size (OR: 0.78 [95% CI, 0.63-0.97]; p = 0.022), and advanced pathological staging (stage I, OR: 16.20 [95% CI, 12.48-21.03]; stage II, OR: 13.12 [95% CI, 10.43-16.50]; stage III, OR: 7.68 [95% CI, 6.17-9.56]; p < 0.001 for all) revealed negative correlations with RTW. In Cox proportional hazard regression for RTW and all-cause mortality, HR was 1.11 (95% CI, 0.80-1.54; p = 0.543) in fully adjusted model. Conclusion Older age, treatment with radiotherapy, higher income, medium company size, and advanced pathological stage showed negative correlations with RTW. However, we observed no significant association between employment and all-cause mortality. Further studies should include participants from different countries, ethnic groups, and patients with other cancers.

Source: Yuan CM, Wang CC, Wu WT, Ho CL, Chen WL, Cancer medicine, 2021 May 14

Cognitive changes after breast cancer: a scoping review to identify problems encountered by women when returning to work

Purpose A scoping review of international literature was conducted to identify the various problems encountered by women with breast cancer associated with cognitive deficits, and the relationship to work roles and tasks. Method This scoping review was conducted using the structure recommended by Arksey & O'Malley in consideration of the PRISMA extension for Scoping Reviews checklist and reviewed for quality, inclusion criteria and key findings related to cognitive changes after breast and impact on work. Searches were conducted in five databases from January 2000 to December 2020. Results A total of 34 studies met the inclusion criteria. There were 20 quantitative studies, 11 qualitative studies, one mixed method and two case study reports. Findings related to the type of cognitive changes that impact work performance and participation, how these are measured in a work context and the types of interventions directed towards improving cognitive function at work after breast cancer. An absence of ecologically valid assessments and interventions with a coherent approach to early identification and management of cognitive changes after breast cancer was apparent. Conclusion Breast cancer survivors can experience challenges in their employment due to cognitive deficits, which may lead to the loss of their employment. Health professionals need to explore breast cancer survivors work role and consider appropriate referrals to ensure women receive the necessary support and rehabilitation to address cognitive problems impacting work performance. Further research is needed to develop workplace-based cognitive assessments and interventions to improve the work performance and participation of women with breast cancer experiencing cognitive deficits.Implications for RehabilitationWork participation can be negatively impacted by unacknowledged cognitive changes that are not assessed and managed throughout the cancer survivorship journey.Health professionals in health care systems, particularly occupational therapists need to consider appropriate referrals to workplace rehabilitation providers to ensure necessary support and rehabilitation to address cognitive problems impacting on work performance.Occupational therapists performing workplace assessments for women with breast cancer, should assesses cognitive function in accordance with the cognitive demands of the job and work environment, and involve the employer and client in workplace based cognitive interventions.

Source: Lewis J, Mackenzie L, Disability and rehabilitation, 2021 May 11, pp.1-19

Returning to work in lung cancer survivors-a multi-center cross-sectional study in Germany

Purpose To investigate the work situation of lung cancer survivors and to identify the factors associated with their returning to work. Methods Descriptive analysis and logistic regression were used to evaluate study population characteristics and independent factors of subsequently returning to work. To analyze time to return to work, Cox regression was used. Results The study sample included 232 lung cancer survivors of working age from 717 enrolled participants in the multi-center cross-sectional LARIS (Quality of Life and Psychosocial Rehabilitation in Lung Cancer Survivors) study. About 67% of the survivors were not employed during the survey. More than 51% of the survivors who were employed before their illness did not return to their work. The survivors who had returned to their careers were younger, associated with higher household income, lower fatigue score, and stable relationship and vocational training. Patients who received social service counseling showed a higher chance of regaining their career. Conclusions Lung cancer survivors were found to be associated with a high risk of unemployment and very low professional reintegration after interruption due to illness. More comprehensive studies are needed to support lung cancer survivors and targeting of patients in need of special attention in rehabilitation that would benefit from the findings in the present study.

Source: Rashid H, Eichler M, Hechtner M, Gianicolo E, Wehler B, Buhl R, Schmidberger H, Stratmann JA, Gohrbandt B, Kortsik C, Nestle U, Wirtz H, Blettner M, Singer S, Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 2021 Jul; Vol. 29 (7), pp. 3753-3765

Avril 2021

Barriers to employment of Australian cancer survivors living with geographic or socio-economic disadvantage: A qualitative study.

Purpose Opportunities for cancer survivors' employment can both reflect and perpetuate health inequities, as employment is an important social determinant of health. Socio-economic and geographic disadvantage is associated with greater difficulty finding work, but little is known about work needs of Australian cancer survivors living with disadvantage.This study examined survivor and health-care professional (HCP) perspectives on barriers experienced by Australian cancer survivors experiencing disadvantage when attempting to remain at or return to work. Methods Focus groups and individual interviews were held with cancer survivors (N = 15) and oncology and primary HCPs (N = 41), focusing on communities at risk of disadvantage. Participants were asked about employment barriers and facilitators in general and in the context of disadvantage. Themes were identified using framework analysis. Results Geographic and socio-economic disadvantage resulted in specific individual- and system-level barriers. These related to distance from treatment and support services and limited availability and suitability of work for survivors living with geographic disadvantage, and limited availability, security, and flexibility of work and previous unemployment for survivors living with socio-economic disadvantage. Identified needs included system-level changes such as public and workplace-level education, legislative and policy changes, and better access to resources. Conclusions Cancer survivors living with disadvantage experience limited access to flexible employment opportunities and resources, further perpetuating their disadvantage. Promotion of health equity for cancer survivors living with disadvantage requires systemic changes to support attempts to remain at/return to work.

Source: Kemp E, Knott V, Ward P, Freegard S, Olver I, Fallon-Ferguson J, Emery J, Christensen C, Bareham M, Koczwara B, Health expectations: an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy, 2021 Apr 07

Family members' experiences of the return to work of cancer survivors.

Purpose Although family members play an important role in various aspects of coping with cancer and are significantly affected by it, little is known about their perspectives regarding return to work (RTW). This study explored attitudes and experiences of cancer survivors' family members related to cancer survivors' RTW. Methods The present study consists of a qualitative research design, employing in-depth semistructured interviews with first-degree family members (N = 21) of cancer survivors who were approached through online social networks: spouses, children, parents and siblings. Grounded theory techniques were used for data analysis. Results Four themes emerged from the interviews: (a) the family's cautious voice in return-to-work decision making; (b) work-home imbalance; (c) inhibiting or promoting the effect of work on the recovery process and (d) expectations and appreciation of unconditional workplace support. Conclusions The findings suggest that psychosocial and health care professionals should help family members play an active role in the decision of RTW. Professionals should also prepare family members for potential costs of RTW for the family and help them develop realistic expectations regarding workplace support of the cancer survivor.

Source: Yagil D, Goldblatt H, Cohen M, Health & social care in the community, 2021 Apr 14

Mars 2021

Return to work and cancer: Perspectives of occupational therapists

Purpose Progress in the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer has translated into more people in Australia living with and beyond cancer. Therefore, there is a larger number of people returning to work following cancer treatment while managing ongoing symptoms of cancer, and side effects of treatment. The purpose of this study was to explore the facilitators and barriers for return to work for someone with cancer, from the perspective of occupational therapists. Methods This study used a qualitative descriptive design. Participants were recruited via key contacts within the industry and relevant interest groups, and included eight occupational therapists with experience supporting someone with cancer to return to work. Data were collected in semi-structured in-depth Interviews which were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically. Results Two main themes were developed; expectations of the cancer experience versus reality, and vulnerability during return to work. Occupational therapists perceived that the person with cancer, employers, family members, co-workers, and society underestimate the impact of ongoing cancer symptoms on return to work. Return to work was challenging as survivors face unexpected challenges due to ongoing fatigue, cognitive difficulties, or psychological factors. Fear of relapse, concerns regarding disclosure affecting how people with cancer are perceived at work, and worries of leaving the high levels of professional support during treatment, also affected return to work. Conclusion Findings from this study may contribute to occupational therapists and people with cancer setting realistic expectations for the return to work experience. Furthermore, it may provide support for occupational therapists to work more effectively with their clients to facilitate a smoother transition back to work as a cancer survivor.

Source: Hatton R, Wallis A, Chew A, Stanley M, Smith A, Australian occupational therapy journal, 2021 Mar 08

Returning to Work After Cancer in Australia: What Facilitates a Positive Return to Work Experience?

Purpose This study examined the impact of task-based and relationship-based social support received in the workplace on cancer survivors' retrospective satisfaction with their return to work experience. Methods Cancer survivors (N = 159), completed an online questionnaire assessing their satisfaction with the return to work experience, overall job satisfaction, contact with employers and co-workers while absent, perceived task-based and relationship-based social support received at the time of returning to work, and the perceived emotional quality of workplace relationships. Results Survivors reported that contact with employers, but not co-workers, while absent from work was associated with a more positive return to work experience. Additionally, greater perceived task-based and relationship-based social support at the time of returning to work were significantly correlated with greater satisfaction with returning to work. Importantly, the impact of task-based and relationship-based social support was fully mediated by the perceived emotional quality of workplace relationships. Job satisfaction independently predicted variance in return to work satisfaction. Conclusions Supporting effective return to work after cancer involves consideration of the workplace social context. Greater resources are needed to help workplaces foster and maintain social connections with employees who are absent from work for cancer treatment.

Source: Skaczkowski G, Asahina A, Wilson C, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Mar; Vol. 31 (1), pp. 41-49

Exploratory study of functional and psychological factors associated with employment status in patients with head and neck cancer.

Purpose Compared with other malignancies, head and neck cancer (HNC) increases the risk of not returning to work (RTW). Methods Within a cross-sectional study, patients with HNC filled out the OncoFunction questionnaire, a version of the International Classification of Functioning Core Sets for HNC. In 231 patients below 65 years of age, associations of sociodemographic, clinical, functional, and psychological factors with employment and participation in rehabilitation program were explored. Results Unemployed patients reported more swallowing difficulties and speaking problems. Being unemployed was associated with higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms, fatigue, and lower global health. Rehabilitation participation was not significantly associated with any of the assessed factors except for smoking. Conclusions Unemployed patients with HNC are more burdened than employed patients with HNC regarding clinical, psychological, and functional factors. These differences are more evident later in recovery. Rehabilitation participation was not associated with psychological and functional burden which indicates the need for tailored HNC rehabilitation programs.

Source: Broemer L, Friedrich M, Wichmann G, Müller J, Neumuth T, Dietz A, Mehnert A, Wiegand S, Zebralla V, Head & neck, 2021 Apr; Vol. 43 (4), pp. 1229-1241

Differences in work participation between incident colon and rectal cancer patients-a 10-year follow-up study with matched controls

Purpose Work-related issues have become increasingly relevant for colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, since the cancer is detected at an earlier age due to screening. The aim was to evaluate work participation up to 10 years after colon or rectal cancer diagnosis compared between diagnosis and to a matched cancer-free population. Methods In this national register-based cohort study, all first-time CRC patients in the period 2000-2015 with no previous cancer, between 20 and 60 years, were identified in the Danish Cancer Registry. A control group with no previous cancer was matched on gender, age, education, and income. For each year a mean Work Participation Score (WPS) was calculated (a percentage of weeks working) for individuals part of the labour market. Results A total of 5625 colon cancer patients and 3856 rectal cancer patients and 25,341 and 17,256 matched controls were included in the study, respectively. The WPS increased for colon cancer patients from 45.69% after 1 year to 83.94% after 4 years, while rectal cancer patients had a score of 38.07% after 1 year and 80.07% after 4 years. The WPS was lower for cancer patients compared with controls, but the difference decreased after 4 years. Conclusion CRC patients had a lower work participation up to 10 years after diagnosis compared with controls, while rectal cancer patients had a lower participation the first 7 years after diagnosis compared with colon cancer patients. Work-related issues should be considered in the early stage of rehabilitation to increase work participation and thereby improve quality of life.

Source: Pedersen P, Laurberg S, Andersen NT, Steenstra I, Nielsen CV, Maribo T, Juul T, Journal of cancer survivorship: research and practice, 2021 Mar 24

Février 2021

Impact of illness perception, mental adjustment, and sociodemographic characteristics on return to work in patients with head and neck cancer

Purpose To examine the effects of emotional distress, illness perception, and mental adjustment on return to work (RTW) among patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) and identify factors associated with RTW. Methods A cross-sectional study with convenience sampling was conducted in Taiwan. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data on RTW status and to explore possible factors related to RTW. RTW status was assessed by a single question. Anxiety and depression were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, illness perception was assessed by the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, and mental adjustment was assessed using the Mini-mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale. Sociodemographic and disease background data were also collected and analyzed. Factors related to RTW were identified by multivariate logistic regression. Results A total of 150 patients with HNC were recruited into the study. Of them, 58 (38.7%) returned to work after treatment. Compared to those who did not RTW, patients who did RTW had lower levels of emotional distress (anxiety and depression), better illness perception (cognitive illness representations and illness comprehensibility), and better mental adjustment (hopelessness and helplessness, anxious preoccupation, avoidance, and fatalism). Multivariable analysis indicated that anxiety (OR = 0.863, p < 0.05), avoidance (OR = 1.280, p < 0.001), cognitive illness representations (OR = 0.891, p < 0.01), illness comprehensibility (OR = 1.271, p < 0.05), higher education level (OR = 3.048-3.609, p < 0.05), married status (OR = 5.220, p < 0.05), tumor site in oral cavity (OR = 5.057, p < 0.05), and no reconstruction (OR = 3.415, p < 0.05) were significantly associated with RTW. Conclusion The issue of RTW among patients with HNC is related to multidimensional factors, including sociodemographic, psychological, and disease-related situations. We suggest that programs for emotional rehabilitation and occupational counseling need to be developed to assist patients with HNC to RTW at an early stage.

Source: Chen YJ, Lai YH, Lee YH, Tsai KY, Chen MK, Hsieh MY, Supportive care in cancer, 2021 Mar; Vol. 29 (3), pp. 1519-1526

Physical activity, return to work self-efficacy, and work status among employees undergoing chemotherapy for cancer - a prospective study with 12 months follow-up

Purpose Numerous studies emphasize the positive effects of physical activity on health and well-being in cancer patients. The effects of physical activity on the working lives of cancer patients have received less attention. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between physical activity and work status in employees with cancer, and the mediating role of return to work self-efficacy (RTWSE) in this association. Methods Data from questionnaires (physical activity, RTWSE, performance status, sociodemographic), patient records, and Danish national registries (work status, education) were collected for 217 employees initiating chemotherapy for cancer. The associations of physical activity at baseline with work status at baseline and at twelve months follow-up, respectively, were estimated with logistic regression. The mediating role of RTWSE was investigated using the Sobel Goodmann test. Results Employees with moderate (> 30 min/day) or high (> 150 min/day) levels of current daily activity at baseline had significantly increased odds for working at baseline (OR = 2.83, 95%CI = 0.73-10.96 and OR = 6.13, 95%CI = 1.68-22.40, respectively) and at twelve months (OR = 3.90, 95%CI = 1.19-12.77 and OR = 3.43, 95%CI = 1.12-10.51, respectively), compared to sedentary employees. Likewise, employees, physically active in their leisure time (light or vigorous psychical activity) for 2-4 h/week or > 4 h/week of light activity at baseline, had increased odds for working at twelve months (OR range = 1.20 (95%CI = 0.40-3.61)-5.39(95%CI = 0.78-37.32)), compared to sedentary employees. RTWSE was not found to mediate the observed associations. Conclusions Physical activity appears positively associated with work status in employees undergoing treatment for cancer in the twelve months period after initiating chemotherapy.

Source: Rosbjerg R, Zachariae R, Hansen DG, Hoejris I, Duijts S, Gehr NL, Andersen ID, Labriola M, BMC cancer, 2021 Feb 17; Vol. 21 (1), pp. 169.

The sense and meaning ascribed to professional work by women with cancer

Purpose The fact that professional activity is reduced is a very challenging experience for persons with cancer whose sense of self-worth is linked to their work. Not only does cancer often become the reason for their deteriorated socio-economic position but it also reduces the quality of life assessment in cancer patients. The aim of the study was to discover the sense and meaning that women with cancer ascribe to their professional work. Methods The research was carried out among 6 women diagnosed with cancer, aged 32-49 years. A qualitative research strategy was adopted in the study and interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied. Results Based on the conducted research, when faced with cancer, the respondents often perceive professional work as a factor that triggers cancer and, at the same time, one that can increase their self-esteem, giving meaning to their life. It, therefore, seems crucial to support the professional activity of cancer patients and to create jobs promoting health. Conclusions When working with a person suffering from cancer, it is worth considering the possibilities that returning to work is likely to carry. It is important to create such jobs and work environments that would be consistent with the concept of health promotion. It seems that the key factors here are the appointment of persons responsible for the return process of a person with a chronic illness, accompanied by efficient communication between the employer and occupational health services, and efficient exchange of information between the treating physician and the workplace (with the employee's consent).

Source: Rębiałkowska-Stankiewicz M, Medycyna pracy, 2021 Feb 03; Vol. 72 (1), pp. 1-8

The associations between late effects of cancer treatment, work ability and job resources: a systematic review

Objective The aim of this review is to evaluate associations between possible late effects of cancer treatment (i.e. physical complaints, fatigue, or cognitive complaints) and work ability among workers beyond 2 years after cancer diagnosis who returned to work. The role of job resources (social support, autonomy, leadership style, coaching, and organizational culture) is also evaluated. Methods The search for studies was conducted in PsycINFO, Medline, Business Source Premier, ABI/Inform, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and Web of Science. A quality assessment was used to clarify the quality across studies. Results The searches included 2303 records. Finally, 36 studies were included. Work ability seemed to decline shortly after cancer treatment and recover in the first 2 years after diagnosis, although it might still be lower than among healthy workers. No data were available on the course of work ability beyond the first 2 years. Late physical complaints, fatigue and cognitive complaints were negatively related with work ability across all relevant studies. Furthermore, social support and autonomy were associated with higher work ability, but no data were available on a possible buffering effect of these job resources on the relationship between late effects and work ability. As far as reported, most research was carried out among salaried workers. Conclusion It is unknown if late effects of cancer treatment diminish work ability beyond two years after being diagnosed with cancer. Therefore, more longitudinal research into the associations between possible late effects of cancer treatment and work ability needs to be carried out. Moreover, research is needed on the buffering effect of job resources, both for salaried and self-employed workers.

Source: Boelhouwer IG, Vermeer W, van Vuuren T, International archives of occupational and environmental health, 2021 Feb; Vol. 94 (2), pp. 147-189

Results from a prospective longitudinal survey of employment and work outcomes in newly diagnosed cancer patients during and after curative-intent chemotherapy: A Wisconsin Oncology Network study

Purpose Postcancer work limitations may affect a substantial proportion of patients and contribute to the "financial toxicity" of cancer treatment. The degree and nature of work limitations and employment outcomes are poorly understood for cancer patients, particularly in the immediate period of transition after active treatment. We prospectively examined employment, work ability, and work limitations during and after treatment. Methods A total of 120 patients receiving curative therapy who were employed prior to their cancer diagnosis and who intended to work during or after end of treatment (EOT) completed surveys at baseline (pretreatment), EOT, and 3, 6, and 12 months after EOT. Surveys included measures of employment, work ability, and work limitations. Descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages, means with standard deviations) were calculated. Results A total of 111 participants completed the baseline survey. On average, participants were 48 years of age and were mostly white (95%) and female (82%) with a diagnosis of breast cancer (69%). Full-time employment decreased during therapy (from 88% to 50%) and returned to near prediagnosis levels by 12-month follow-up (78%). Work-related productivity loss due to health was high during treatment. Conclusions This study is the first to report the effects of curative intent cancer therapy on employment, work ability, and work limitations both during and after treatment. Perceived work ability was generally high overall 12 months after EOT, although a minority reported persistent difficulty. A prospective analysis of factors (eg, job type, education, symptoms) most associated with work limitations is underway to assist in identifying at-risk patients.

Source: Tevaarwerk AJ, Kwekkeboom K, Buhr KA, Dennee A, Conkright W, Onitilo AA, Robinson E, Ahuja H, Kwong RW, Nanad R, Wiegmann DA, Chen K, LoConte NK, Wisinski KB, Sesto ME, Cancer, 2021 Mar 01; Vol. 127 (5), pp. 801-808

Janvier 2021

Municipal return to work management in cancer survivors: a controlled intervention study

Introduction Resuming work during or after cancer treatment has become an important target in cancer rehabilitation. Purpose The aim was in a controlled trial to study the return to work (RTW) effect of an early, individually tailored vocational rehabilitation intervention targeted to improve readiness for RTW in cancer survivors.Material and Methods Participants diagnosed with breast, cervix, ovary, testicular, colon-rectal, and head-and-neck cancers as well as being employed were allocated to a vocational rehabilitation intervention provided by municipal social workers ( n  = 83) or to usual municipal RTW management ( n  = 264). The intervention contained three elements: motivational communication inspired by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by which RTW barriers were addressed, municipal cancer rehabilitation and finally employer and workplace contact. RTW effect was assessed as relative cumulative incidence proportions (RCIP) in the control and intervention group within 52 weeks of follow-up, estimated from the week where treatment ended at the hospital. RCIP was interpreted and reported as relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for gender, age cancer diagnosis, education, comorbidity, and sick leave weeks.Results Across cancer diagnoses 69 (83.1%) and 215 (81.4%) returned to work in the intervention and control group, respectively. No statistical effect was seen (RR 1.08 (95% CI 0.98-1.19)). Repeating the analyses solely for participants with breast cancer ( n  = 290) showed a significant effect of the intervention (RR 1.12 (95% CI 1.01-1.23)). Conclusion More than 80% returned to work in both groups. However, no statistical difference in RTW effect was seen across cancer diagnoses within one year from being exposed to an early, individually tailored vocational rehabilitation intervention compared with usual municipal RTW management.

Source: Stapelfeldt CM, Momsen AH, Jensen AB, Andersen NT, Nielsen CV, Acta oncologica, 2020 Dec 07, pp. 1-8

An integrative review: Women's psychosocial vulnerability in relation to paid work after a breast cancer diagnosis

Purpose The aim of this integrative review was to explore psychosocial vulnerabilities in women after a breast cancer diagnosis that are related to their paid work. Methods The review methodology was guided by Whittemore and Knafl. The Mehnert Cancer Survivorship and Work Model provided a lens through which to view vulnerability in working women with a focus on facilitating interventions to improve both recovery and work outcomes. PUBMED, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycNET databases were searched for English language papers published between January 2014-June 2020.Titles and abstracts were screened. Inclusion/exclusion criteria were then applied to full text screen of the remaining articles following PRISMA guidelines. Thirteen studies meeting the inclusion criteria were critically appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist. A constant comparison approach was used to systematically distil findings into categories and assess their fit within the Mehnert Model subdomains. Results Vulnerabilities coalesced predominantly within the following subdomains: (a) changes in identity and role functioning; (b) social reintegration; (c) coping strategies; and () social supports. Patterns and themes within these subdomains were related both positively and negatively to form the contours of a survivor's satisfaction/dissatisfaction with quality of life related to work and breast cancer recovery. Conclusion Overall, findings highlight the importance of employment and work environments in bolstering women's psychosocial health after a breast cancer diagnosis. Findings from this review support adapting psychosocial distress screening to include vulnerabilities relating to work life. Nurses are ideally positioned to facilitate this screening and engage clinicians in a dialogue surrounding patient's support needs due to nursing's central role on the interdisciplinary team. Nurses may also foster collective accountability for implementing ongoing multidisciplinary survivorship care plans that include a return to work component.

Source: Melnyk H, Djukic M, Merriman J, Vaughan Dickson V, Journal of advanced nursing, 2020 Dec 26.

Factors Affecting Quality of Work Life in a Sample of Cancer Survivor Female Nurses

Purpose Identifying the factors affecting the Quality of Work Life (QWL) of cancer survivor female nurses is important and necessary to overcome the various challenges experienced by these professionals upon returning to work following recovery from the disease. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the factors affecting the level of nurses' QWL. Methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 115 registered female nurses who had survived cancer, in general hospitals and clinics in South Korea. SPSS statistics version 21 was used for ordinary least squares, and Stata version 12.0 was used for quantile regression analysis. Results Workplace spirituality affected all quantiles of QWL except the 90% quantile; fatigue was an affecting factor in the 20%, 30%, and 70% quantiles; and job stress in the 20%, 30%, 40%, and 60%, 70%, 80% quantiles. For workplace spirituality, the effect size was 0.33 ( p < 0.001) in the 10% quantile, increasing to 0.45 ( p < 0.001) in the 80% quantile. Conclusions Based on the results of this study, suggestions for clinical practice include providing the mediating strategies and programs to manage fatigue and job stress as well as workplace spirituality. Job-related factors such as shift work should also be considered.

Source: Jin JH, Lee EJ, Medicina, 2020 Dec 21; Vol. 56 (12).

Employment After Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Among Women in the Sister and the Two Sister Studies

Purpose Women undergoing diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer may face challenges in employment. We investigated the impact of demographic, clinical, workplace, and psychosocial characteristics on loss of employment after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. We further describe changes in work status and work environment for cancer survivors who sustain employment. Methods We analyzed responses from a survey of breast cancer survivors from the Sister Study and the Two Sister Study cohorts who reported being employed at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis and who reported employment status (lost vs. sustained employment) at the time of survey administration. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the effects of lymphedema, neuropathy, problems with memory or attention, social support, health insurance, and sick leave on lost employment, adjusting for demographic characteristics, cancer stage, treatment, and general health. Results Of the 1675 respondents who reported being employed at the time of diagnosis, 83.5% reported being 'currently' employed at the time of the survey. Older age, peripheral neuropathy, lack of sick leave, late stage at diagnosis, a recurrence or a new cancer, problems with memory or attention, and poor general health were significantly associated with lost employment. Conclusions The long-term effects of breast cancer treatment and workplace provisions for leave and accommodation may have a substantial effect on women's ability to sustain employment. The findings from this study highlight challenges reported by cancer survivors that may inform clinical and occupational interventions to support survivors' return to work.

Source: Peipins LA, Dasari S, Rodriguez JL, White MC, Hodgson ME, Sandler DP, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Jan 02

Return to Work and Quality of Life in Disease-Free Adult Patients with Soft-Tissue and Bone Sarcoma of the Extremity

Purpose & methods Treatment of extremital sarcoma patients may be associated with significant functional disabilities and psychosocial distress affecting return to work (RtW) and quality of life (QoL). In this exploratory study we prospectively investigated the RtW rate, explored biomedical and psychosocial predictors of RtW, and compared generic QoL with Swiss population norms. Results Forty people (89 %) returned to work. Full-time employment before sarcoma diagnosis, high educational level, and low tumor grade showed an increased probability of RtW. The median age was lower in patients who returned to work, and they reported less fear of progression. Generic QoL (SF-36) was reduced in almost all dimensions when compared to a normative Swiss population. Conclusion Physical functioning and fear of progression have to be addressed in the rehabilitation process.

Source: Kollár A, Müller S, Limacher A, Briner I, Klenke F, Bernhard J, Praxis, 2021 Jan; Vol. 110 (1), pp. 22-29.

Relationship of perceived everyday cognitive function and work engagement in breast cancer survivors

Purpose Breast cancer survivors (BCS) who represent approximately 3.5 million survivors in the USA frequently report ongoing cognitive dysfunction that may impact work outcomes. However, little is known about how perceived everyday cognitive function may affect work engagement (a measure of work efficacy and work well-being) in BCS who have completed treatment.The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between perceived everyday cognitive function and work engagement in BCS. Methods A convenience sample of 68 employed BCS seen at a Midwest NCI-Cancer Center who were at least 1-year post-treatment, completed a cross-sectional questionnaire assessing demographic and medical characteristics, and perceived everyday cognitive function (Everyday Cognition Scale) and work engagement (Utrecht Work Engagement Scale). Descriptive statistics, Pearson's r, and separate regression models controlling for age and education were used to analyze the data. Results BCS who were on average 52 (SD = 8.6) years old, 5 (SD = 3.8) years post-treatment, and primarily employed full-time (79%) participated. A subset of BCS (12%) identified poorer everyday cognitive function after BC diagnosis and treatment. Everyday cognition, including subscales vigor and dedication, were correlated with work engagement (p˂0.01), controlling for age and education. Conclusions Findings indicate the important role of perceived everyday cognitive function in work engagement well into survivorship. Reducing cognitive dysfunction may be an important area for future intervention research to support BCS who return to work. Healthcare providers need to assess and address perceived cognitive dysfunction to promote work-related outcomes in BCS well into survivorship.

Source: Von Ah D, Crouch A, Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 2021 Jan 07

Perceptions of clinical support for employed breast cancer survivors managing work and health challenges

Purpose A substantial portion of breast cancer survivors are active in the workforce, yet factors that allow survivors to balance work with cancer management and to return to work are poorly understood. We examined breast cancer survivors' most valued/desired types of support in early survivorship. Methods Seventy-six employed breast cancer survivors answered an open-ended survey question assessing the most valued/desired support to receive from healthcare providers during early survivorship to manage work and health. Cutrona's (Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 9:3-14, 1990) optimal matching theory and House's (1981) conceptualization of social support types informed our analyses. Data were content-analyzed to identify themes related to support, whether needed support was received or not, and the types of healthcare providers who provided support. Results We identified six themes related to types of support. Informational support was valued and mostly received by survivors, but they expected more guidance related to work. Emotional support was valued but lacking, attributed mainly to providers' lack of personal connection and mental health support. Instrumental (practical) support was valued but received by a small number of participants. Quality of life support to promote well-being and functionality was valued and often received. Other themes included non-specific support and non-support. Conclusions This study expands our understanding of how breast cancer survivors perceive work-related support from healthcare professionals. Findings will inform targeted interventions designed to improve the support provided by healthcare professionals. Breast cancer survivors managing work and health challenges may benefit by having their unmet support needs fulfilled.

Source: Dugan AG, Decker RE, Namazi S, Cavallari JM, Bellizzi KM, Blank TO, Dornelas EA, Tannenbaum SH, Shaw WS, Swede H, Salner AL, Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice, 2021 Jan 06

Facteurs prédictifs de maintien en emploi et de retour au travail après un cancer

Objectif L’objectif principal de ce travail était d’identifier les facteurs sociodémographiques liés à la pathologie cancéreuse influençant le retour au travail professionnel.Méthodes Étude descriptive et prospective qui se rapportait au retour au travail des patients cancéreux, en activité professionnelle, ayant bénéficié d’un traitement et d’un suivi au niveau du service de carcinologie à l’hôpital Tahar Mâamouri, durant la période allant de septembre 2015 jusqu’à décembre 2019.Résultats Notre étude avait recensé 89 patients. L’âge moyen était de 45 ans ± 8. La population était à prédominance féminine (59 %). Il s’agissait d’employés dans 45 % des cas. Les localisations cancéreuses les plus représentées étaient le sein (45 %) et le colon (20 %). Après la fin du traitement, 34 patients avaient repris leur emploi. Il s’agissait de femmes dans 79 % des cas et de cancer du sein dans 70 % des cas. L’étude des facteurs prédictifs de reprise du travail a révélé en analyse univariée une corrélation du retour en emploi avec le sexe (p = 0,002), la profession (p < 10−3), la durée initiale d’arrêt du travail au cours du traitement (p = 0,015), les mesures d’aménagement (p = 0,01), la nature de la tumeur primitive (p = 0,001), le stade de la maladie (p = 0,037), le traitement (p = 0,014) et la réponse aux traitements (p = 0,024).Conclusion Notre étude a mis l’accent sur l’importance de la mise en place d’une plateforme pluridisciplinaire basée sur la collaboration entre le médecin du travail et le médecin traitant afin de faciliter le retour au travail et le maintien dans l’emploi des patients après un cancer.

Source: Mersni M, Belfkih H, Bani M, Youssef I, Rais H, Bulletin du cancer, 2021 Jan 14

Predictors of resignation and sick leave after cancer diagnosis among Japanese breast cancer survivors: a cross-sectional study

Purpose In Japan, 55.5% of breast cancer survivors (BCSs) are of working age, so various perspectives regarding return to work (RTW) after cancer diagnosis need to be considered. Therefore, this study aimed to clarify the risk factors for resignation and taking sick leave (SL) among BCSs in continued employment at the time of diagnosis. Methods A web-based retrospective cross-sectional survey was conducted on BCSs using data from a 2018 Japanese national research project (Endo-Han) commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. The subjects were women aged 18-69 years who had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time at least 1 year previously. The risk factors for resignation and taking SL after breast cancer diagnosis, including age at diagnosis, education level, cancer stage, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, employment status, and occupational type, were then analyzed using a logistic regression model. Results In total, 40 (14.9%) of 269 BCSs quit their jobs at least 1 year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The results of the multivariable analysis indicated that lower education level (odds ratio [OR]: 3.802; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.233-11.729), taking SL (OR: 2.514; 95%CI: 1.202-5.261), and younger age at diagnosis (OR: 0.470; 95%CI: 0.221-0.998) were predictors of resignation. Of 229 patients who continued working, SL was taken by 72 (31.4%). In addition, undergoing surgery was found to be a predictor of taking SL (OR: 8.311; 95%CI: 1.007-68.621). Conclusions In total, 40 (14.9%) of 269 BCSs quit their jobs at least 1 year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The results of this study indicated that younger age, lower education level, and taking SL were predictors of resignation after breast cancer diagnosis.

Source: Mitsui K, Endo M, Imai Y, Ueda Y, Ogawa H, Muto G, Yan Y, Deshpande GA, Terao Y, Takeda S, Tanigawa T, Nishimura K, Hayashi K, Saito M, Kokaze A, BMC public health, 2021 Jan 14; Vol. 21 (1), pp. 138

Return to work in survivors of Primary Brain Tumours treated with Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy

Purpose Primary brain tumour (PBT) survivors have a high burden of morbidity. Return to work (RTW) is an important survivorship parameter and outcomes measure in these patients, especially in developing countries. This study was done to assess RTW after radiotherapy, reasons for no RTW, and relationship of RTW with treatment and patient factors. Methods A single centre study was done amongst PBT patients. Baseline and treatment details, education, employment was assessed. RTW assessed as: time to RTW, full/ part-time, reasons for no RTW and RTW at 6 months post-therapy, and last follow up. Results 67 PBT patients with a median age of 42 years were assessed. Most common diagnosis was low grade glioma. Over 66% patients were illiterate, and 62% had semi-skilled and unskilled jobs, mostly agriculture. About 64.4% patients returned to employment in a median time of 3 months. At 6 months post-treatment 58.2% had a job, with only 42% working full-time. 'Limb weakness' (21.4%), followed by 'loss of job/ no job' (16.7%), 'fatigue'/ 'tiredness' (14.3%), 'poor vision/ diminished vision' (11.9%) were the common reasons for no RTW. The factors found to be significantly associated with return to work were younger age (p = 0.042), male sex (0.013), the absence of complications during radiotherapy (p = 0.049), part time job prior to diagnosis (p = 0.047), and early return to work after RT (p < 0.001). Conclusion Studies are needed to identify the barriers in re- employment and steps to overcome them in cancer patients.

Source: Basalathullah MAR, Malik M, Valiyaveettil D, Elizabeth NB, Ahmed SF, Cancer treatment and research communications, 2021 Jan 05; Vol. 26.

Changes after cancer diagnosis and return to work: experience of Korean cancer patients

Purpose Cancer patients' return to work is a growing aspect of survivorship care, yet limited studies have been conducted in Korea to understand the work-related experience of cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to understand the unmet needs of cancer patients and identify the necessary factors to develop a vocational intervention program based on cancer patients' work-related experience after cancer diagnosis. Methods Semi-structured individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 50 cancer patients who were working at the time of diagnosis at a university hospital in Seoul, South Korea from July to September of 2017. Interview data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results 'The changes patients experienced after cancer diagnosis' were categorized into Personal and socio-environmental changes. 'Personal changes' were changes within the patient that were further divided into 'physical', 'psychological' and 'spiritual' changes while 'socio-environmental changes' were changes in either 'attitude' and 'relationship' of other people cancer patients encountered. In addition to these post-diagnosis changes, the following 4 major factors related to return-to-work were identified to affect patients' experience: 'fear of cancer recurrence', 'financial status', 'informational support', and 'job-related work environment'. Conclusion Cancer patients' working status was determined by personal and socio-environmental changes after the cancer diagnosis which as well as psychological distress and practical issues such as fear of cancer recurrence, financial burden, and work environment. Educational materials and intervention programs informing patients on these changes and factors may facilitate their return-to-work after diagnosis.

Source: Bae KR, Cho J, BMC Cancer, 2021 Jan 21; Vol. 21 (1).

Occupational rehabilitation of male breast cancer patients: Return patterns, motives, experiences, and implications-A qualitative study

Purpose Knowledge regarding the occupational rehabilitation of male breast cancer patients (MBCPs) is currently scarce; however, there may exist unmet needs of men affected by this rare disease. Therefore, this exploratory study investigated the experiences of MBCPs in their return to work (RTW). Methods Interview data from 14 men with a breast cancer diagnosis were used for qualitative content analysis. Data were collected within the mixed-methods N-MALE project (Male breast cancer: patients' needs in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and follow-up care), conducted in Germany from 2016 to 2018. Results The eight identified motives for RTW were desire for normalcy, distraction, need for activity, social contacts, work as a source of pleasure, financial considerations, lack of self-perception of illness, and having a job requiring low physical effort. The participants reported positive experiences with their workplaces from diagnosis through RTW. However, stigmatisation occurred. The aftermath of the disease and treatment led to changes in the interviewees' productivity, for instance due to fatigue. Conclusion The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of RTW processes, as new insights were gained about motives and experiences particular to MBCPs. Support needs after return were apparent and may help to reduce long-term effects that limit productivity.

Source: Hiltrop K, Heidkamp P, Halbach S, Brock-Midding E, Kowalski C, Holmberg C, Ernstmann N, European journal of cancer care, 2021 Jan 23.

Cancer survivors' experiences with conversations about work-related issues in the hospital setting

Purpose Early access to work-related psychosocial cancer care can contribute to return to work of cancer survivors. We aimed to explore: (a) the extent to which hospital healthcare professionals conduct conversations about work-related issues with cancer survivors, (b) whether cancer survivors experience these conversations as helpful, and (c) the possible financial implications for cancer survivors of (not) discussing their work early on. Methods The Dutch Federation of Cancer Patient Organizations developed and conducted a cross-sectional online survey, consisting of 27 items, among cancer survivors in the Netherlands. Results In total, 3500 survivors participated in this study (71% female; mean age (SD) 56 (11) years). Thirty-two percent reported to have had a conversation about work-related issues with a healthcare professional in the hospital. Fifty-four percent indicated that this conversation had been helpful to them. Conversations about work-related issues took place more frequently with male cancer survivors, those aged 55 years or below, those diagnosed with gynecological, prostate, breast, and hematological or lymphatic cancer, those diagnosed ≤2 years ago, or those who received their last treatment ≤2 years ago. There was no statistically significant association between the occurrence of conversations about work-related issues and experiencing the financial consequences of cancer and/or its treatment as burdensome. Conclusions Although conversations about work-related issues are generally experienced as helpful by cancer survivors, early access to work-related psychosocial cancer care in the hospital setting is not yet systematically offered.

Source: Zegers AD, Coenen P, van Belzen M, Engelen V, Richel C, Dona DJS, van der Beek AJ, Duijts SFA, Psycho-oncology, 2021 Jan; Vol. 30 (1), pp. 27-34