The Journal of Cancer Survivorship recently published a study by the Nordic Study on Cancer and Work comparing the work ability of breast, testicular, and prostate cancer survivors to that of people without cancer. The study also looked at the association of disease-related and socio-demographic factors with ability to work and examined whether these associations were different for the survivors and reference subjects.
Cancer patients of working age, diagnosed between 1997 and 2002, were studied in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway and compared to those without cancer. The results found that there was a marginally lower value of work ability in the breast and prostate cancer survivors compared to those who were cancer-free. The study also found that "Co-morbidity, chemotherapy, low workplace support, and low organizational commitment were associated with reduced work ability. Avoidance behavior from supervisors or colleagues was only related to work ability among the cancer survivors."
In the "conclusion and implications" section of the study the authors make a few key recommendations. They believe that we need to pay more attention to helping cancer survivors with their work life, especially those with chronic diseases and who are currently undergoing treatment. The results show that one of the areas that could use the most improvement is communication at work. Supportive leadership strategies will help reduce isolating behavior towards cancer survivors.
To read the full study, click here, and for information on how to navigate cancer and work, check out some of our resources: Back to Work After Cancer, Managing Treatment Side Effects, and Your Mindset.