Objective: To investigate the employment status of lung cancer survivors and the work-related problems they face.
Background: Although the number of lung cancer survivors is increasing, little is known about their employment and work-related issues.
Methods: We enrolled 830 lung cancer survivors 12 months after lung cancer curative surgery (median time after diagnosis, 4.11 years) and 1000 volunteers from the general population. All participants completed the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, Core 30-item and a questionnaire that included items relating to their jobs. We used logistic regression analysis to identify independent predictors of unemployment.
Results: The employment rate of lung cancer survivors decreased from 68.6% at the time of diagnosis to 38.8% after treatment, which was significantly lower than the employment rate of the general population (63.5%; adjusted odds ratio = 2.31, 95% confidence interval: 1.66–3.22). The posttreatment unemployment rate was higher for women than for men. Among survivors, employment was inversely associated with older age, household income, number of comorbidities, and poor social functioning. Fatigue (78.6%) was the most common work-related problem reported by survivors.
Conclusions: Lung cancer survivors experienced more difficulties in employment than did the general population. Age, monthly household income, number of comorbidities, and social functioning appear to be important factors influencing employment status. These findings suggest that lung cancer survivors need support to cope with the financial impact of cancer.