Combination of gender, clinical, and sociodemographic factors account for delays in return to work after cancer diagnosis

Feb 1st – J. Clinical Onc. – Clinical factors such as chemotherapy, adverse effects, and progression of disease delayed the time to return to work.

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1.  In this French study, older men returned to work later than older women while married men returned to work faster than married women.

2. Clinical factors such as chemotherapy, adverse effects, and progression of disease delayed the time to return to work.

A combination of clinical, sociodemographic, economic, and psychosocial variables were analyzed in this study to determine factors affecting return to work of cancer patients. The study indicated differences based upon gender, age and marital status in the rates of return to work (RTW), 2 years after cancer diagnosis. While informative, the results should be regarded with caution due to several limitations. Being a survey-based study, there were a large number of non-respondents from the original pool surveyed, a problem magnified by the fact that non-respondents had different characteristics from participants. The study was also done exclusively in France, and it may not be generalizable to other countries. This would be true because of vastly different sociopolitical climates that could certainly affect the results seen in France. Moving forward, a clearer identification of the factors involved with delays in RTW would not only accelerate the patients’ resuming of normal lives but also develop cost-effective strategies to address the economic impact of extended sick leaves.

Click to read the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

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1.  In this French study, older men returned to work later than older women while married men returned to work faster than married women.

2. Clinical factors such as chemotherapy, adverse effects, and progression of disease delayed the time to return to work.

This [cross-sectional survey]: A total of 1,150 adult patients with cancer 2 years after diagnosis were enrolled as part of a national survey in France. A telephone interview collected information about their occupational status, working conditions and medical information about the disease. Men were 29.2% more likely to RTW than women at each time interval, with older men and married women returning more slowly to work. Besides gender, a combination of clinical (chemotherapy, adverse effects, progression of disease), and sociodemographic factors (people with a permanent work contract or strong focus on personal life) delayed RTW.

In sum: A combination of clinical, sociodemographic, economic, and psychosocial variables were analyzed in this study to determine factors affecting return to work of cancer patients. The study indicated differences based upon gender, age and marital status in the rates of return to work (RTW), 2 years after cancer diagnosis. While informative, the results should be regarded with caution due to several limitations. Being a survey-based study, there were a large number of nonrespondents from the original pool surveyed, a problem magnified by the fact that nonrespondents had different characteristics from participants. The study was also done exclusively in France, and it may not be generalizable to other countries. This would be true because of vastly different sociopolitical climates that could certainly affect the results seen in France. Moving forward, a clearer identification of the factors involved with delays in RTW would not only accelerate the patients’ resuming of normal lives but also develop cost-effective strategies to address the economic impact of extended sick leaves.

Click to read the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

By Elizabeth Park and Rif Rahman

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