Theoretical perspectives upon the return to work of cancer patients: The difficult path of integration in the organization

Open access


The present article follows an in-depth analysis of several relevant articles and major findings concerning the return to work of cancer patients, in various situations, from a manager and patient point of view, putting into discussion the effects and consequences of different factors that may influence the well-being of the patient at work and impact the organizational life. The concepts of returning to work and integration are scarcely analysed throughout the scholarly literature in the case of employees diagnosed with cancer, due to several reasons presented in the paper: from the complex topic of investigation that many studies fail to approach in terms of confidentiality, technical, ethical and moral grounds to the specific and difficult apparatus for research in the case of an even more complex, multiple instances and personalized manifestation long-term illness. In conclusion, the general framework solicits for a more integrated model of research and future multi-facet schemes for interventions, considering that there is a general consensus focusing on the need for connecting the health services with the employee and employer level, alongside stakeholders’ active participation.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Aas Randi W. Kjersti L. Ellingsen Preben Lindøe and Anders Moller. 2008. "Leadership qualities in the return to work process: a content analysis". Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 18(4): 335-346. DOI 10.1007/s10926-008-9147-y.

  • Amir Ziv Phil Wynn Fong Chan David Strauser Stuart Whitaker and Karen Luker. 2010. "Return to Work After Cancer in the UK: Attitudes and Experiences of Line Managers". Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 20(4): 435-442. DOI 10.1007/s10926-009-9197-9.

  • De Boer Angela G.E.M. Taina Taskila Anneli Ojajarvi Frank J.H. van Dijk and Jos H.A.M. Verbeek. 2009. "Cancer survivors and unemployment: a meta-analysis". Journal of the American Medical Association 301(7): 753-762. DOI 10.1001/jama.2009.187.

  • Feuerstein Michael Briana L. Todd Michal C. Moskowitz Gina L. Bruns Mallori R. Stoler Thomas Nassif and Xinhua Yu. 2010. "Work in cancer survivors: a model for practice and research". Journal of Cancer Survivorship 4(4): 415-437. DOI 10.1007/s11764-010-0154-6.

  • Grunfeld Elizabeth A. Emma Low and Alethea F. Cooper. 2010. "Cancer survivors’ and employers’ perceptions of working following cancer treatment". Occupational Medicine 60(8): 611-617. DOI 10.1093/ occmed/kqq143.

  • Gudbergsson Saevar Berg Sophie D. Fossa and Alv A. Dahl. 2008. "A study of work changes due to cancer in tumor-free primary-treated cancer patients. A NOCWO study". Supportive Care in Cancer 16(10): 1163-1171. DOI 10.1007/s00520-008-0407-3.

  • Hoefsmit Nicole Angelique de Rijk and Inge Houkes. 2013. "Work resumption at the price of distrust: a qualitative study on return to work legislation in the Netherlands". BMC Public Health 13(1): 153-167. DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-13-153.

  • Holmgren Kristina and Synneve D. Ivanoff. 2007. "Supervisors’ views on employer responsibility in the return to work process. A focus group study". Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 17(1): 93-106. DOI 10.1007/s10926-006-9041-4.

  • Kessler Ronald C. Paul E. Greenberg Kristin D. Mickelson Laurie M. Meneades and Philip S. Wang. 2001. "The effects of chronic medical conditions on work loss and work cutback". Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 43(3): 218-225. DOI 10.1097/00043764-200103000-00009.

  • Lavigne Jill E. Jennifer J. Griggs Xin M. Tu and Debra J. Lerner. 2008. "Hot flashes fatigue treatment exposures and work productivity in breast cancer survivors". Journal of Cancer Survivorship 2(4): 296-302. DOI 10.1007/s11764-008-0072-z.

  • Maiwald Karin Agnes Meershoek Angelique de Rijk and Frans J.N. Nijhuis. 2013. "Policy on manager involvement in work reintegration: Managers’ experiences in a Canadian setting". Work 49(3): 483-494. DOI 10.3233/WOR-131727.

  • Mak Angela Ka Ying Shirley S. Ho and Hyo Jung Kim. 2014. "Factors Related to Employers’ Intent to Hire Retain and Accommodate Cancer Survivors: The Singapore Perspective". Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 24(4): 725-731. DOI 10.1007/s10926-014-9503-z.

  • Mak Angela Ka Ying Suwichit Chaidaroon Gilbert Fan and Fahimah Thalib. 2014. "Unintended consequences: the social context of cancer survivors and work". Journal of Cancer Survival 8(2): 269-281. DOI 10.1007/s11764-013-0330-6.

  • Maunsell Elizabeth Melanie Drolet Jaques Brisson Chantal Brisson Benoit Masse and Luc Deschenes. 2004. "Work situation after breast cancer: results from a population-based study". Journal of the National Cancer Institute 96(24): 1813-1822. DOI 10.1093/jnci/djh335.

  • McKay Georgina Vikki Knott and Paul Delfabbro. 2013. "Return to work and cancer: the Australian experience". Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 23(1): 93-105. DOI 10.1007/s10926-012-9386-9.

  • Munir Fehmidah Joanna Yarker and Hilary McDermott. 2009. "Employment and the common cancers: correlates of work ability during or following cancer treatment". Occupational Medicine 59(6): 381-389. DOI 10.1093/occmed/kqp088.

  • Norredam Marie Ellen Meara Mary Beth Landrum Haiden A. Huskamp and Nancy L. Keating. 2009. "Financial status employment and insurance among older cancer survivors". Journal of General Internal Medicine 24(2): 438-445. DOI 10.1007/s11606-009-1034-5.

  • Nowrouzi Behdin Nancy Lightfoot Kristy Cote and Rhonda Watson. 2009. "Workplace support for employees with cancer". Current Oncology 16(5): 15-22.

  • O’Baugh Jenny Lesley M. Wilkes Suzanne Luke and Ajesh George. 2003. "‘Being positive’: perceptions of patients with cancer and their nurses". Journal of Advanced Nursing 44(3): 262-270. DOI 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02801.x.

  • Park Jae-Hyun Jong-Hyock Park and Sung-Gyeong Kim. 2009. "Effect of cancer diagnosis on patient employment status: a nationwide longitudinal study in Korea". Psycho-Oncology 18(7): 691-699. DOI 10.1002/pon.1452.

  • Park Joanne and Mamdouh Shubair. 2013. "Returning to Work After Breast Cancer: A Critical Review". International Journal of Disability Management 8(1): 1-10. DOI

  • Pryce Joanna Fehmidah Munir and Cheryl Haslam. 2007. "Cancer survivorship and work: symptoms supervisor response co-worker disclosure and work adjustment". Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 17(1): 83-92. DOI 10.1007/s10926-006-9040-5.

  • Spelten Evelien. R. Mirjam A. Sprangers and Jos H. Verbeek. 2002. "Factors related to influence the the return to work of cancer survivors: a literature review". Psycho-Oncology 11(2):124-131. DOI 10.1002/pon.585.

  • Steiner John F. Tia A. Cavender Deborah S. Main and Cathy J. Bradley. 2004. "Assessing the impact of cancer on work outcomes: what are the research needs?". Cancer 101(8): 1703-1711. DOI 10.1002/cncr. 20564.

  • Steiner John F. Tia A. Cavender Carolyn T. Nowels Brenda L. Beaty Cathy J. Bradley Diane L. Fairclough and Deborah S. Main. 2008. "The impact of physical and psychosocial factors on work characteristics after cancer". Psycho-Oncology 17(2): 138-147. DOI 10.1002/pon.1204.

  • Syse Astri Steinar Tretli and Oystein Kravdal. 2008. "Cancer’s impact on employment and earnings-a population-based study from Norway". Journal of Cancer Survivorship 2(3): 149-158. DOI 10.1007/s11764-008-0053-2.

  • Taskila Taina and Marja-Liisa Lindbohm. 2007. "Factors affecting cancer survivors’ employment and work ability". Acta Oncologica 46(4): 446-451. DOI 10.1080/02841860701355048.

  • Taskila Taina Rami Martikainen Paivi Hietanen and Marja-Liisa Lindbohm. 2007. "Comparative study of work ability between cancer survivors and their referents". European Journal of Cancer 43(5): 914-920. DOI 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.01.012.

  • Tiedtke Corine Peter Donceel Angelique De Rijk and Bernadette Dierckx De Casterlé. 2013. "Return to Work Following Breast Cancer Treatment: The Employers’ Side". Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 24(3): 399-409. DOI 10.1007/s10926-013-9465-6.

  • Vidor Clémence Ariane Leroyer Véronique Christophe Mélanie Seillier Jérome Foncel Justine Van de Maële Jacques Bonneterre and Sophie Fantoni. 2014. "Decrease social inequalities return-to-work: development and design of a randomised controlled trial among women with breast cancer". BMC Cancer 14(267): 1-10. DOI 10.1186/ 1471-2407-14-267.

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 203 114 0
PDF Downloads 82 56 5