Purpose of this systematic literature review was to identify current knowledge about employment in cancer survivors. Sixty-four studies met inclusion criteria that were original papers published between 01/2000 and 11/2009. Overall, 63.5% of cancer survivors (range 24-94%) returned to work. The mean duration of absence from work was 151 days. Factors significantly associated with a greater likelihood of being employed or return to work were perceived employer accommodation, flexible working arrangements, counseling, training and rehabilitation services, younger age and cancer sites of younger individuals, higher levels of education, male gender, less physical symptoms, lower length of sick leave and continuity of care. Cancer survivors had a significantly increased risk for unemployment, early retirement and were less likely to be re-employed. Between 26% and 53% of cancer survivors lost their job or quit working over a 72-month period post diagnosis. Between 23% and 75% of patients who lost their job were re-employed. A high proportion of patients experienced at least temporary changes in work schedules, work hours, wages and a decline in work ability compared to non-cancer groups.
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