Adjuvant Chemo for Breast Cancer Tied to Job Loss

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Adjuvant Chemo for Breast Cancer Tied to Job Loss
Adjuvant Chemo for Breast Cancer Tied to Job Loss

(HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survivors who received adjuvant chemotherapy during initial treatment appear to be at increased risk of undesired unemployment during the next 4 years, according to research published online April 28 in Cancer.

Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal cohort study based on data from baseline and follow-up surveys of women diagnosed with nonmetastatic breast cancer. The researchers assessed the impact of chemotherapy on employment.

The researchers found that, among 1,026 women younger than 65 years at the time of diagnosis who did not experience recurrence of breast cancer, and who responded to both surveys, 76% were employed prior to diagnosis. 

RELATED: Breast Cancer Resource Center

Women who received chemotherapy as a component of initial therapy for breast cancer were more likely to report being unemployed at the time of follow-up (38% vs. 27%; P = 0.003). Receipt of chemotherapy at the time of diagnosis of breast cancer was independently associated with unemployment during survivorship (odds ratio, 1.4; P = 0.04). Many survivors reported that work was important (50%), and some were actively seeking work (31%).

"Unemployment among survivors of breast cancer 4 years after diagnosis is often undesired and appears to be related to the receipt of chemotherapy during initial treatment," the researchers wrote.

One study author disclosed possible financial conflicts of interest.


  1. Jagsi R, Hawley ST, Abrahamse P, et al. Impact of adjuvant chemotherapy on long-term employment of survivors of early-stage breast cancer. Cancer. 2014;doi:10.1002/cncr.28607.

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