Employment Among Survivors of Lung Cancer and Colorectal Cancer

Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Journal of Clinical Oncology (Impact Factor: 18.43). 03/2010; 28(10):1700-5. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.24.7411
Source: PubMed


To identify the frequency of and factors associated with changes in employment among cancer survivors.
This prospective cohort study took place in the context of the population-based Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance Consortium. Patients with nonmetastatic lung or colorectal cancer who survived approximately 15 months after diagnosis without cancer recurrence provided their self-reported employment status, employment experiences, and changes in insurance coverage at 4 and 15 months after diagnosis. Multiple logistic regression was used to relate sociodemographic and disease factors to the probability of labor force departure.
Among 2,422 eligible patients, employment declined from 3% to 31% over the 15 months after cancer was diagnosed. Labor force departures attributable to cancer occurred in 17% of those employed at baseline. Factors associated with significantly higher rates of labor force departure were lung versus colon cancer, stage III versus I or II disease, lower educational and income levels, and, among colorectal patients, older age. Married women were significantly more likely than unmarried women to leave the workforce. Only 2% of patients lacked health insurance during the study period.
Most employed patients with nonmetastatic lung or colorectal cancer return to work, but approximately one sixth of patients leave the workforce, particularly those with worse prognoses or lower socioeconomic status. Potential economic effects must be considered in management decisions about cancer.

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