Objective: To determine the association of symptom burden to work limitation among working survivors of malignant brain tumors.
Methods: Working adults with malignant brain tumors (n = 95) and a non-cancer comparison (n = 131) group completed a web-based questionnaire. Measures of demographics, tumor type and treatment, fatigue, emotional distress, cognitive limitations, and factors that can positively impact work, including health behaviors and problem solving, were obtained.
Results: Survivors of malignant brain tumors reported higher levels of work limitations and time off from work than the non-cancer group. Higher levels of symptom burden, lower levels of health behaviors, and more negative problem solving orientation were characteristic of the brain tumor survivor group. These variables were not differentially associated with work limitations among brain cancer survivors or the comparison group. Depressive symptoms, fatigue, cognitive limitations, sleep, and negative problem solving orientation were independently associated with work limitations, accounting for 65% of the variance in work limitations.
Conclusions: Despite higher levels of burden, poorer health behaviors, and negative problem solving coping style, modifiable factors account for most of the variance in work limitations for both groups. Efforts to modify these variables should be evaluated.