The following article features coverage from the American Society of Hematology 2019 Annual Meeting. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Although many young adult hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) survivors gradually return to work, as many as 40% are still either unemployed or on medical disability 3 years post HCT, according to study findings presented at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, held in Orlando, Florida. For young adults who are often at a critical professional development stage during their illness, their ability to return to work is not only an indicator of their health recovery but also an important aspect of their quality of life.

In the study, researchers used data from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) to identify 1365 young adults, aged 18 to 39, who had undergone allogenic HCT for malignant or nonmalignant conditions between 2008 and 2015. Their work-status at 6 months and at 1 to 3 years was assessed and compared.

Overall from 6 months to 3 years, the percentage of survivors employed full time post HCT increased from 18% to 51%, and part time from 7% to 11%. The percentage of unemployed survivors and survivors on medical disability decreased 38% to 18% and 37% to 20%, respectively. Survivors who were working full-time pre-HCT were significantly more likely to be employed 1 year post-HCT. At 1 year post HCT, 50% of survivors who were employed pre-HCT were either unemployed or had medical disability status.

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Females and patients with an HCT comorbidity score of 2 or 3 were less likely to be employed. Patients with graduate school level education had a significantly higher likelihood of being employed compared with patients whose highest education level was high school or lower. Lastly, employment rates were higher among patients who were treated with chemotherapy-based myeloablative conditioning than among patients who had been treated with total body irradiation-based myeloablative conditioning.

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“Our study findings provide an insight into the factors impinging young adult survivors’ ability to return to work and points to a need for return-to-work interventions,” concluded the study authors.

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with industry. Please refer to the original abstract for a full list of disclosures.


Bhatt NS, Brazauskas R, Bo-Subait S, et al. Post-transplant work status of young adult survivors of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant: a report from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). Oral presentation at: 61st ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition; December 7-10, 2019; Orlando, FL. Abstract 706.