Background: The most common female cancer in Western countries is breast cancer and women diagnosed with this disease are often under 65 years old. With increasing prevalence of survivors it is important to shed light on problems facing these women after diagnosis and treatment. The aim of this study was to assess factors predicting return to work (RTW) in women with early-stage breast cancer.
Material and methods: A cohort of 102 women aged 18-64 with early-stage breast cancer who had undergone curative primary surgery with or without systemic adjuvant therapy were followed for 10 months using data from questionnaires and medical files.
Results: Ten months after primary surgery, 59% of the women had returned to work while 41% were sick-listed part-time or full-time. After adjusting for age, health status, life satisfaction, vocational situation, and irradiation to the breast/chest wall and regional nodes, a multivariate logistic regression revealed the following factors as being negatively associated with RTW: a high-demand job (OR=0.1, 95% CI 0.0-0.8), axillary node dissection (OR=0.1, 95% CI 0.0-0.6), and treatment with chemotherapy (OR=0.1, 95% CI 0.0-0.7).
Discussion: Treatment factors and high demands at work play an important role in RTW for women with early-stage breast cancer.