Work functioning trajectories in cancer patients: results from the longitudinal Work Life after Cancer (WOLICA) study

Publication type
Journal article
Dorland HF Abma FI Roelen CAM Stewart RE Amick B Ranchor AV Bultmann U
Date published
2017 Nov 01
International Journal of Cancer
Open Access?

More than 60% of cancer patients are able to work after cancer diagnosis. However, little is known about their functioning at work. Therefore, the aims of this study were to (1) identify work functioning trajectories in the year following return to work (RTW) in cancer patients and (2) examine baseline sociodemographic, health-related and work-related variables associated with work functioning trajectories. This longitudinal cohort study included 384 cancer patients who have returned to work after cancer diagnosis. Work functioning was measured at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months follow-up. Latent class growth modeling (LCGM) was used to identify work functioning trajectories. Associations of baseline variables with work functioning trajectories were examined using univariate and multivariate analyses. LCGM analyses with cancer patients who completed on at least three time points the Work Role Functioning Questionnaire (n = 324) identified three work functioning trajectories: 'persistently high' (16% of the sample), 'moderate to high' (54%) and 'persistently low' work functioning (32%). Cancer patients with persistently high work functioning had less time between diagnosis and RTW and had less often a changed meaning of work, while cancer patients with persistently low work functioning reported more baseline cognitive symptoms compared to cancer patients in the other trajectories. This knowledge has implications for cancer care and guidance of cancer patients at work