October/November 2008 (vol. 05/3)

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Research Plus

Breast cancer return to work

The key factor determining return to work in early-stage breast cancer patients is the type of treatment received. In a study carried out at an OH service in the Netherlands, 72 patients were monitored for two years after diagnosis and their return to work analysed according to treatment type and cancer-related symptoms. All but four of the patients had returned to work after two years, with 35% still absent after one year (mean absence duration 11.4 months). Full and partial return to work was longer in patients who underwent chemotherapy or multimodal treatment (radiotherapy and chemotherapy). Cancer-related symptoms had little effect on the time taken to return to normal hours, though shoulder-function impairment – a common complication after axillary lymph node dissection – delayed partial return to work.

Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2008; 18: 267–272.


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2008 (vol. 05/3) pp41