Correlates of return to work for breast cancer survivors

Department of Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.
Journal of Clinical Oncology (Impact Factor: 18.43). 02/2006; 24(3):345-53. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2004.00.4929
Source: PubMed


To identify correlates of return to work for employed breast cancer survivors.
Patients included 416 employed women with newly diagnosed breast cancer identified from the Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System. Patients were interviewed by telephone 12 and 18 months after diagnosis. Correlates of return to work at 12 and 18 months were identified using multivariate logistic regression.
More than 80% of patients returned to work during the study period, and 87% reported that their employer was accommodating to their cancer illness and treatment. After adjusting for demographic characteristics, health status, cancer stage, treatment, and job type, heavy lifting on the job (odds ratio = 0.42; 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.99), perceived employer accommodation for cancer illness and treatment (odds ratio = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.03 to 4.8), and perceived employer discrimination because of a cancer diagnosis (odds ratio = 0.27; 95% CI, 0.10 to 0.71) were independently associated with return to work at 12 months after breast cancer diagnosis, and perceived employer accommodation (odds ratio = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.06 to 5.1) was independently associated with return to work at 18 months after breast cancer diagnosis.
A high percentage of employed breast cancer patients returned to work after treatment, and workplace accommodations played an important role in their return. In addition, perceived employer discrimination because of cancer was negatively associated with return to work for breast cancer survivors. Employers seem to have a pivotal role in breast cancer patients' successful return to work.

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    • "The majority of respondents stated that CS received good levels of support , with family/friends being most supportive, followed by colleagues then employers. CS who perceived their employer as being cooperative and accommodating were more likely to return to work (Amir, Neary, & Luker, 2008; Bouknight, Bradley, & Luo, 2006). The most prominent facilitating factors in continuing in, and returning to, employment were a supportive employer and colleague support with adjustments to working hours. "
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