Purpose: This study seeks to investigate the long-term public health burden of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) in terms of work loss following contemporary treatment protocols and associations with established treatment complications and lymphoma relapse.
Methods: We identified 1,989 Swedish HL patients (1,082 with clinical information) aged 18-60 (median 33) years at diagnosis 1992-2009, and matched 1:4 to population comparators. Sick leave, disability pension (work loss), and comorbidity were retrieved through September 2013. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using Poisson regression, and mean lost work days were estimated yearly during follow-up.
Results: The risk of annual work loss was elevated in HL survivors versus comparators up to the 15th year post-diagnosis (RR(5th year) 1.64, 95% CI 1.46-1.84; RR(10th year) 1.33, 95% CI 1.15-1.34; and RR(15th year) 1.30, 95% CI 1.04-1.62). The risk remained elevated up to the 10th year after adjustment for secondary malignancies and cardiovascular disease (RR(10th year) 1.31, 95% CI 1.13-1.52). Advanced-stage patients had more lost days than comparators (mean number(5th year) 66 versus 33, mean difference 34, 95% CI 20-48) as did patients receiving 6-8 chemotherapy courses (62 versus 33, mean difference(5th year) 30, 95 % CI 17-43). Among patients in the first complete remission, a difference was still observed for advanced-stage (51 versus 33, mean difference(5th year) 19, 95% CI 5-34) but not early-stage disease.
Conclusions: Advanced-stage HL survivors treated with full-dose chemotherapy were at increased risk of work loss, not only explained by relapse, secondary malignancies, or cardiovascular disease.
Implications for cancer survivors: The results call for increased awareness and evaluation of reasons for long-term work disability following intensive chemotherapy among young HL survivors.
Keywords: Cancer survivorship; Chemotherapy; Disability pension; Hodgkin lymphoma; Sick leave; Work loss.