Work and cancer survivors


Session type:

Michael Feuerstein1
1Uniformed Services University, Bethesda Maryland, USA


As the prevalence of cancer continues to increase work becomes a desired outcome for many living post primary treatment. However, despite policies designed to facilitate return to work and work retention in employees with many types of chronic illnesses, our research using the US Department of Justice population database indicates that cancer survivors file more disputes for early discharge and terms and conditions (salary, promotion and benefits.) than any other illness category. Prolonged symptoms of fatigue, distress, pain and cognitive limitations have been observed in 30-50% of cancer survivors. The relationship between increases in these symptoms and decreased work productivity may help explain some of the workplace friction reported in the cancer survivor group. In fact, after three years of working post diagnosis, some cancer survivors chose to leave work because of symptoms related to cancer and its treatment. These findings and others in the area of work and cancer highlight the need for attention to this aspect of function after primary treatment. Our group created a model of cancer survivorship and work with a global perspective to help identify factors related to work. The model is based on evidence related to work and cancer and other chronic illnesses. It will be presented to provide a framework to assist in future research and clinical practice.