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December 2021

Work problems after breast cancer: An exploratory qualitative study

Author(s): Brisson, C., Dubois, L., Lauzier, S., Fraser, A.

Journal/Book: Psycho Oncol. 1999; 8: Baffins Lane Chichester, W Sussex PO19 1UD, England. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 467-473.

Abstract: People treated for cancer have reported a variety of problems at work. However, there is little data on work experience after breast cancer, particularly for women treated in recent years. This exploratory qualitative study was conducted among 13 breast cancer survivors who had paid employment at diagnosis, returned to work afterwards, and mentioned work-related problems to a clinic nurse or physician. Unstructured, thematic interviews were undertaken. Qualitative thematic content analysis was conducted to identify and group themes which emerged from participants' discourse. Women in various types of jobs reported experiencing job loss, demotion, unwanted changes in tasks, problems with the employer and co-workers, personal changes in attitudes to work and diminished physical capacity. These work problems also preoccupied people treated for cancer more than two decades ago. New areas of concern also emerged: possible positive and negative effects of learning (implicitly or explicitly) about the diagnosis while at work and lack of discussion with health professionals about work and return-to-work issues, suggesting that health professionals' behaviour may influence women's work experience right from diagnosis. The identification of these new problems and confirmation of previously reported ones underlines the pertinence of determining how important and widespread these problems are in women now being treated for breast cancer.

Note: Article Maunsell E, Grp Rech Epidemiol, Pavillon St Sacrement, 1050 Chemin, St Foy, PQ G1S 4L8, CANADA

Keyword(s): OF-LIFE; WORKPLACE; DISTRESS


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