Purpose The purpose of this prospective cohort study of breast cancer survivors was to identify factors before diagnosis, during treatment, and after treatment that are associated with return to work (RTW). Methods A total of 288 women with breast cancer (stage I–III) and whose age were 18–65 years-old answered questionnaires at 4–6, 12, 24, and 36 months after diagnosis. The surveys asked about performance of regular exercise and health-related quality of life issues. “RTW at 36 months” was assigned to patients who reported any of the following: working at least twice; no job at baseline but working more than once; job at baseline, stopped working, and then started working again; and working during all 3 years. Results We classified 107 of 288 of the women (37.1%) as having returned to work. Analysis of pre-diagnostic factors indicated that more education and practice of regular endurance exercise were positively associated with RTW. Analysis of factors during treatment indicated that appetite loss and fatigue were negatively associated with RTW. Analysis of factors at post-treatment indicated that better body image, better physical function, better existential well-being, and participation in regular endurance and resistance exercise were positively associated with RTW. Childbirth at 12–24 months was negatively associated with RTW. Conclusion Women who participate in exercise before, during, and after treatment for breast cancer are more likely to RTW. A woman’s need to care for children, perceived body image, and existential well-being may also affect her RTW.
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 17, 2016
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