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Minerva Psichiatrica 2008 March;49(1):45-60


language: English

Aspects of the work situation of cancer survivors

Gudbergsson S. B., Dahl A. A.

Department of Clinical Cancer Research Division of Rikshospitalet University of Oslo Norwegian Radiumhospital, Oslo, Norway


More effective treatment and better prognosis of many types of cancer have increased the number of cancer survivors who are able to return to work after primary treatment. This new situation has increased the interest and need for research on the relationship between work related issues and cancer survivors (CSs). The aim of this review is to present the research literature and research efforts concerning living conditions, return to work and other work-related issues in cancer survivors, and finally to present some directions of future research in the field. This review summarizes research-based knowledge on work issues in Cancer Survivors mostly performed from 2000 and until recently in cancer survivors who have survived one year after primary treatment. The Authors also present the method and findings from three studies conducted by the Norwegian national group of the Nordic Study Group of Cancer and Work (NOCWO). Most studies have shown that the majority of cancer survivors return to work after primary treatment, even if there are subgroups of cancer survivors that who are not able to do so due to various disabilities and comorbidity. The majority of studies have focused on cancer survivors’ return to work, mainly in survivors of breast cancer, and fewer studies have focused on the situation at work and the associations between at work issues. The Norwegian studies showed that the living conditions and job strain of working cancer survivors were similar to that of matched controls, and that only 17% of survivors changed their job situation due to cancer. Interventions strategies to increase return to work or work function are lacking from the existing literature. Cancer survivors can be optimistic of returning to work after primary treatment, and the living conditions of those who return do not differ significantly from controls. However more research is needed on how interventions strategies can impact the work ability of cancer survivors.

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