The return to work experiences of colorectal cancer survivors

AAOHN J. 2004 Dec;52(12):500-10.


During the past 15 years, the number of colorectal cancer survivors has risen dramatically. While it is unclear how many colorectal cancer survivors were employed at the time of diagnosis, it is reasonable to expect a significant proportion of these survivors were temporarily displaced from the work force. This article describes the return to work experiences of 250 colorectal cancer survivors. The majority (80%) of the survivors were employed at diagnosis and 89% returned to work. Of those who returned to work, 81% sustained employment 5 years postdiagnosis. Results indicate survivors were successful in their attempt to return to work and sustain employment. However, 34% of survivors delayed their return beyond 2 months postdiagnosis. After controlling for ethnicity, education, and disease severity, the reason for delay was related to chemotherapy treatment. Prospective studies of colorectal cancer survivors to document barriers to work return can guide interventions and occupational services to keep survivors healthy and in the workplace.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • California
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Employment / organization & administration
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Job Description
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sick Leave
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Workload
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology