Associations between workability and patient-reported physical, psychological and social outcomes in breast cancer survivors: a cross-sectional study

Ho P.J., M. Hartman, S.A. Gernaat, A.R. Cook, S.C. Lee, L.N. Hupkens, W.M.U. Van Grevenstein, H.M. Verkooijen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Workability is of increasing importance especially in Asia given the increasing incidence rates and young age of onset of breast cancer. This study explores the determinants of employment and suboptimal workability. And evaluate the association between workability and patient-reported physical, psychological, and social outcomes. Methods: In a hospital-based cross-sectional study, 327 breast cancer survivors, < 65 years of age and > 1 year post-diagnosis were recruited. Employed survivors filled out the workability index, which measures a person’s capacity to meet work demands in relation to current health status. The EORTC-QLQ-C30, EORTC-QLQ-BR23, hospital anxiety and depression scale, multidimensional fatigue inventory, and brief pain index were administered. Fisher’s exact test and Kruskal-Wallis test were used to test for associations of workability and employment status with demographic, clinical characteristics, and patient-reported outcomes. Linear models with standardised scores for patient-reported outcomes were fitted to study the associations of workability with patient-reported outcomes. Results: Of the 327 survivors, < 65 years of age (working age), 140 (43%) were in full-time and 34 (10%) in part-time employment. Employed survivors were younger at time of diagnosis and at time of survey. Employment status was not associated with time since diagnosis, ethnicity, or clinical characteristics. Suboptimal workability was present in 37% of employed survivors of the working age, and more common in jobs that include physical work activities. Higher level of depression, financial difficulty and physical fatigue, more breast symptoms, and poorer global health status were independently associated with poorer workability. Conclusions: Lower employment and reduced workability in breast cancer survivors is common, and reduced workability is associated with higher levels of depression, financial difficulty and physical fatigue, more breast symptoms, and poorer global health status. Longitudinal research on psychosocial support with workability in Asia may find tailored approach to improve or maintain workability in employed breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2815–2824
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume26
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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