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.
In relation to the increasing number of lung cancer survivors, their employment status and other relevant factors were explored. The factors that are highly relevant to lung cancer survivors’ return to work include complex reasons related to age, socioeconomic, physical condition, and social functioning. Therefore, financial support is a necessity.
*Research Institute and Hospital, National Cancer Center, Goyang
†Graduate School of Public Health, Korea University, Seoul
‡Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul
§Center for Lung Cancer, National Cancer Center, Goyang
¶Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul
‖Department of Preventive Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
Reprints: Young Ho Yun, MD, PhD, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 103 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-799, Korea. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Disclosure: This study was supported by National Cancer Center Grants 0710410 and 1010470. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.