Background: The rates and factors associated with the return to work of head and neck cancer survivors from low- and middle-income countries, such as India, are largely unknown.
Methods: We conducted a preliminary cross-sectional survey of 250 consecutive eligible head and neck cancer survivors (age <60; ≥6 months posttreatment) to identify return to work rates and sociodemographic, clinical, and quality of life (QOL; European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30-questions [EORTC-QLQ-C30] and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 Head and Neck 35-questions [EORTC-QLQ-H&N35]) correlates.
Results: In our cohort, 92.4% of the patients were employed pretreatment, 65.6% and 81.2% returned to work at 6 months posttreatment and by the time of the survey (median follow-up 19 months), respectively. Family structure (<2 male children, p = .008; eldest child age <20 years, p = .04), a higher level of education (vocational or professional training, p = .013) and female sex (p = .001) were associated with higher return to work. Head and neck cancer survivors who returned to work had better global quality of life (QOL; p = .014) and less coughing (p = .001) but more problems related to sticky saliva (p = .004).
Conclusion: Further studies are needed to address the large unmet needs regarding identification and amelioration of barriers to return to work for head and neck cancer survivors in low- and middle-income countries, such as India. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 39: 893-899, 2017.
Keywords: employment; head and neck cancer; low and middle-income countries; return to work; survivors.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.