High Sick Leave Among Longterm Cancer Survivors

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According to findings by researcher Steffen Torp and colleagues from Vestfold University College in Norway and published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, in the five years following diagnosis, cancer survivors take sick leave from their jobs at a significantly higher clip than co-workers without a history of cancer.

The team of researchers looked at data from the Norwegian population-based registries and the Cancer Registry of Norway for over 2,000 adults previously diagnosed with invasive cancer. For a control group, they used 3,240 carefully matched 'healthy' individuals.

What they determind was that long-term cancer survivors tended to take substantially more sick leave during those five years. Three quarters of the cancer survivors understandably took some sick leave in the first year following their diagnosis; over the next four years, 23 percent of men and 31 percent of women recovering from cancer took sick leave, compared to approximately 18 percent of men and 27 percent of women in the control group.

Of note, cancer type or severity of the disease was not the most important predictor of sick leave. Rather, socio-demographic factors played a bigger role, such as being single with children, education, working in the health and social care fields, or having taken sick leave the year before diagnosis.

Most cancer survivors return to work, and most experts regard returning to work as a crucial aspect of one's psychological recovery from cancer, as well as one's economic recovery from the disease.

"Employed long-term cancer survivors may struggle with health impairments or reduced work ability five years after diagnosis," the authors wrote. "A socioeconomic and work environmental perspective seems necessary for occupational rehabilitation and the health and safety of cancer survivors, in order to reduce the rate of sick leave in this group."

Source: ecancer

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