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Predictors of Work-Related Disability During Early Phases of Breast Cancer Treatment

Brick, Rachelle, MSOT, OTR/L1; Skidmore, Elizabeth, PhD, OTR/L1; Terhorst, Lauren, PhD1; McCue, Michael, PhD2; Bender, Catherine, PhD, RN3

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: January 17, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001138
Brief Report: PDF Only

Objective This study examined the magnitude of work-related disability in post-menopausal women with breast cancer compared to healthy controls. It also examined demographic and clinical correlates of work-related disability in post-menopausal women with breast cancer.

Study Design Exploratory secondary analysis of longitudinal study.

Outcome Measure The Work Limitations Questionnaire measured the percentage of at-work productivity loss.

Results The analysis revealed a significant group by time interaction effect (F(1,40)=4.705, p=.036, partial η2=.105) on work-related disability. Participants with breast cancer (M=2.364, SE=.374) had significantly higher percentage of at-work productivity loss compared to the healthy control group (M=1.263, SE=.392). At baseline, cognitive-emotional symptoms were moderately to strongly associated with work-related disability. At 6 months, physical symptoms were moderately associated with work-related disability.

Conclusions Newly, diagnosed women with breast cancer are likely to experience higher rates of work-related disability compared to health counterparts. Healthcare providers should provide intervention to parallel the shift in symptoms which lead to higher work-related disability and job cessation

1University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy

2University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Counseling

3University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing

Correspondence: Rachelle Brick, 5055 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, Phone: (412) 383 – 4085, Fax: (412) 383-6613. Email:

Author Disclosures: This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (R01CA107408). There were no financial or conflicts of interest reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article. Portions of these data will be presented at the 2018 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Conference on October 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.

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