30 percent of breast cancer survivors later lost their jobs
Working women who survive breast cancer are significantly more likely to lose their jobs, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that 30 percent of women who had jobs when they began treatment for breast cancer were unemployed four years later. The study also found that the type of treatment women received had a direct impact on their likelihood of being unemployed. According to the report, women who underwent chemotherapy had a 1.4 times higher chance of unemployment following treatment.
Many people are forced to take time off while getting chemotherapy treatment to deal with extreme fatigue, nausea and other immediate side effects of the therapy. The researchers say it’s possible this could lead to long-term employment problems for a number of reasons. For example, chemotherapy treatments can cause long-term side effects such as neuropathy or cognitive issues, causing a drop-off in work performance.
More than half of the women who had lost their jobs said it was important for them to work and 39 percent said they were actively looking for work. Those who were not working were significantly more likely to report they were worse off financially.
The findings point to the need to reduce the burden of breast cancer treatment and reinforce current efforts to develop better strategies for patients who may not necessarily need chemotherapy to be part of their treatment plan.