Presentation M O21

M O21 (Oral Presentation):
Physical and psychosocial problems in cancer survivors beyond return to work: a systematic review

Presented by: Martine P. van Egmond

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Duijts SFA1,2,3, van Egmond MP1,4, Spelten E3, van Muijen P1,4, Anema JR1,4, van der Beek AJ1,4

  1. Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. Department of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam
  3. Dutch Organisation of Psychosocial Oncology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. Research Center for Insurance Medicine AMC-UMCG-UWV-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands



Attention for the expanding group of cancer survivors at work, and the late effects they are confronted with while working, has been limited. The objective of this systematic review is to identify and summarize studies, exploring ongoing physical and/or psychosocial problems related to functioning of employees with a history of cancer, beyond their return to work.


Publications were identified through computerized Medline, PsycINFO, Embase and Cinahl searches (January 2000 - March 2013). Studies had to be directed at cancer survivors, who were employed during the study. Both qualitative and quantitative studies were included. Quality assessment of these studies was performed. Two reviewers independently extracted data from each publication, e.g., physical and/or psychosocial problems (e.g., fatigue, cognitive limitations), outcome measures (e.g., work productivity), qualitative and quantitative results.


The search identified 8979 articles. After exclusion on title and abstract, 64 were retrieved for full text screening, of which 30 met the inclusion criteria. A total of 20 studies reported quantitative and 10 studies reported qualitative results. The majority of studies assessed psychosocial problems in cancer survivors at work. Cognitive limitations, coping issues, fatigue, depression and anxiety were reported to influence work ability. Physical problems, such as difficulties with lifting and treatment-induced menopausal symptoms, were frequently described to affect functioning at work.


Ongoing physical and/or psychosocial problems are present in occupationally active cancer survivors, which may cause serious difficulties at work. The results of this study may be used as input for developing supportive interventions for these survivors.

Schedule Details

Monday September 29
13:45 - 15:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (M O13 - M O24 and Seminar 2)
Session: Work disability in cancer survivors
Room A