Adjuvant chemotherapy does not affect employment in patients with early-stage breast cancer

J Gen Intern Med. 1995 Feb;10(2):73-6. doi: 10.1007/BF02600230.


Objective: To assess the impact of adjuvant chemotherapy for the management of breast cancer on subsequent patient employment.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: University-affiliated community hospital cancer center.

Patients: Patients who were 18 to 65 years old and were diagnosed as having breast cancer stages 0, I, II, and IIIa between January 1986 and January 1991 were contacted and asked whether they had been employed at the time of the diagnosis. The 145 patients who had breast cancer and who had been working at the time of diagnosis completed a questionnaire, which included questions regarding demographic characteristics, employment history, and the reasons for any period of unemployment. The 76 patients who had received adjuvant chemotherapy were compared with the 69 who had not.

Measurements and results: The main endpoint was return to work by one, three, six, and 12 months after surgery. Of the 76 patients who had received chemotherapy, 70 (92%) had resumed work by 12 months after treatment began. Of the 69 who had not been treated with chemotherapy, 65 (94%) had resumed work in 12 months. The proportions of patients who had returned to work by one, three, and six months were similar in the two groups. Regression analyses demonstrated no significant confounding or interaction of adjuvant treatment with age, menopausal status, marital status, years of education, or type of job in regard to return to work.

Conclusions: Adjuvant chemotherapy does not delay or prevent return to work in women treated for early-stage breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Data Collection
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Premenopause
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Regression Analysis
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors


  • Tamoxifen