Presentation M O23

M O23 (Oral Presentation):
Cancer survivors' work outcomes: The role of function and the workplace

Presented by: Michael Feuerstein

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Feuerstein M1, Moskowitz MC1, Todd BL1

  1. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda, MD, USA



To determine pathways associated with work ability and work retention among survivors of many types of cancers following primary treatment for cancer.


This study analyzed cross-sectional data from a sample of cancer survivors (n=1525) who were diagnosed with and treated for breast, colorectal, Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate, testicular, and thyroid cancers. The data were obtained from a survey of cancer survivors collected by the Live-Strong Foundation.


The study used structural equation modeling to predict direct pathways among socio-demographic, health and well-being, symptom burden, (e.g., fatigue, pain, distress), cancer-related worry, worry about family’s cancer risk, functional impairment (i.e., physical, cognitive, interpersonal), workplace support, and workplace problems and work ability (whether survivors reported lower work ability following cancer) and work sustainability (whether survivors had ever lost or left a job due to cancer, i.e. work retention). The overall model for work ability indicated that a greater level of functional limitation (B = 5.881, p = 0.006) and workplace problems (B = 0.222, p = 0.050) were significantly related to lower levels of work ability (CFI = 0.961, TLI = 0.952, RMSEA = 0.027). Structural equation modeling also indicated that workplace problems were a significant predictor (B = 0.498, p < 0.001) of the likelihood of work sustainability (CFI = 0.961, TLI = 0.952, and RMSEA = 0.027).


Both functional limitations and problems at work that include poor treatment, discrimination, being passed over for promotion, and lack of accommodations were directly related to the ability to work. Problems at work were also associated with lower work sustainability (work retention). These problems are similar to those found with other chronic illnesses and indicate a troubling pattern of poor work outcomes for cancer survivors, many of whom desire or need to remain working for years past initial diagnosis and treatment for the illness.

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