Cancer survivors appear more likely to maintain continued employment at 5 years following diagnosis if accommodations in the workplace are made for them, according to a recent analysis published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.

The study was conducted in France and included cancer survivors who had completed the VICAN5 national survey, which investigated many areas of life for survivors 5 years after cancer diagnosis. This analysis included participants (N=1514) who, at the time of diagnosis, were younger than 55 years and employed.

The primary goal of the study was to evaluate 5-year employment outcomes for cancer survivors with workplace accommodations. For this evaluation, survivors were categorized into 2 groups based on whether their workplace made accommodations for them, and the groups were propensity-score matched.

The mean age of participants was approximately 44 years, and the rate of employment at 5 years postdiagnosis was 85.1%. Employment involved a permanent contract among 62.4% of workers, and 76.3% had full-time positions. Most (74.1%) had private-sector employment.


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The researchers found that 61.2% of survivors in this study were given accommodations in the workplace during the 5-year postdiagnosis period. Several factors related to employment and patient characteristics appeared to contribute to the likelihood of receiving workplace accommodations.

The most common workplace accommodation was a reduction in hours (49.2% of participants). Work schedule was modified for 41.5% of participants, and the workstation was modified for 35.5%. More than one accommodation was given to 70.3% of those survivors who received accommodations, such as a combination of a modified schedule with reduced hours.

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In the propensity-matched analysis, workplace accommodations showed an association with continued employment at 5 years; survivors with such accommodations had a rate of employment of 95.0% in this analysis, compared with 77.8% for survivors without workplace accommodations.

“In conclusion, our study suggests that workplace accommodations are an important tool for ensuring the continued employment of cancer survivors, and not just their return to work,” wrote the researchers in their report.

Reference

Alleaume C, Paraponaris A, Bendiane MK, Peretti-Watel P, Bouhnik AD. The positive effect of workplace accommodations on the continued employment of cancer survivors five years after diagnosis [published online January 10, 2020]. Support Care Cancer. doi: 10.1007/s00520-019-05189-y