Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) experience burdensome symptoms that negatively affect their quality of life. How MPN symptoms relate with medical disability leave (MDL) among patients with the disease has not been previously examined. Using data collected from the Living with MPNs patient survey, symptom burden and functional status were compared in patients who reported taking MDL due to their MPN versus patients who reported no changes in employment status. Among 592 patients who were employed full- or part-time at diagnosis, 24.8% reported taking ≥ 1 MDL and 49.4% reported no change in employment status as a result of their MPN. Of the patients who took MDL, 29.9% took ≥ 2 MDLs, and most patients (62.6%) did not return to work. All 10 symptoms comprising the MPN Symptom Assessment Form were significantly more frequent and severe in patients who took MDL compared with those who had no employment change. Furthermore, functional impairments were also significantly more frequent among patients who went on MDL versus those with no employment change. Effective management of MPN-related symptoms may reduce disability leave among patients with high symptom burden.
Keywords: Disability leave; Essential thrombocythemia; Myelofibrosis; Myeloproliferative neoplasm; Polycythemia vera.