Return to work, work productivity loss and activity impairment in Chinese breast cancer survivors 12-month post-surgery: a longitudinal study

Journal article


Ng, D.W.L., So, S.C.Y., Fielding, R., Mehnert-Theuerkauf, A., Kwong, A., Suen, D., Wong, L., Fung, S. W. W., Chun, O. K., Fong, D.Y., Chan, S., Molasiotis, A., So, W.K. and Lam, W.W.T 2024. Return to work, work productivity loss and activity impairment in Chinese breast cancer survivors 12-month post-surgery: a longitudinal study. Frontiers in Public Health. 12, pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2024.1340920/full
AuthorsNg, D.W.L., So, S.C.Y., Fielding, R., Mehnert-Theuerkauf, A., Kwong, A., Suen, D., Wong, L., Fung, S. W. W., Chun, O. K., Fong, D.Y., Chan, S., Molasiotis, A., So, W.K. and Lam, W.W.T
Abstract

Introduction: Existing evidence of returning-to-work (RTW) after cancer comes predominately from Western settings, with none prospectively examined since the initial diagnostic phase. This study prospectively documents RTW-rate, time-to-RTW, work productivity loss, and activity impairment, within the first-year post-surgery among Chinese women with breast cancer (BCW) and identify potential causal co-variants.

Methods: This observational longitudinal study followed 371 Chinese BCW who were employed/self-employed at the time of diagnosis at 4-week post-surgery (baseline). RTW-status and time-to-RTW were assessed at baseline (T1), 4-month (T2), 6-month (T3), and 12-month (T4) post-baseline. WPAI work productivity loss and activity impairment were assessed at T4. Baseline covariates included demographics, medical-related factors, work satisfaction, perceived work demand, work condition, RTW self-efficacy, B-IPQ illness perception, COST financial well-being, EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-BR23 physical and psychosocial functioning, and HADS psychological distress.

Results: A 68.2% RTW-rate (at 12-month post-surgery), prolonged delay in RTW (median = 183 days), and significant proportions of T4 work productivity loss (20%), and activity impairment (26%), were seen. BCW who were blue-collar workers with lower household income, poorer financial well-being, lower RTW self-efficacy, poorer job satisfaction, poorer illness perception, greater physical symptom distress, impaired physical functioning, and unfavorable work conditions were more likely to experience undesired work-related outcomes.

Discussion: Using a multifactorial approach, effective RTW interventions should focus on not only symptom management, but also to address psychosocial and work-environmental concerns. An organizational or policy level intervention involving a multidisciplinary team comprising nurses, psychologists, occupational health professionals, and relevant stakeholders in the workplace might be helpful in developing a tailored organizational policy promoting work-related outcomes in BCW.

Keywordsbreast cancer; survivors; Chinese ; return to work
Year2024
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Journal citation12, pp. 1-11
PublisherFrontiers
ISSN2296-2565
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2024.1340920/full
Web address (URL)https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/public-health/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2024.1340920/full
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Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Mar 2024
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