Unemployment after Breast Cancer
This is a depressing report about the high rate of unemployment after breast cancer. Sure, some of these numbers can be blamed on the national economic picture, but this is worse than that. The finding is that nearly 30% of women are unemployed five years after a diagnosis; this is nearly three times worse than the national figures. To what can this be attributed? There are lots of ideas, and no certainties. What is clear is that to be financially struggling, perhaps without medical insurance, and with the accompanying anxiety and low self esteem makes survivorship even harder.
Here is the beginning of the article from Medscape and then a link to read more:
Double Whammy: Unemployment After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
December 9, 2011 (San Antonio, Texas) — Five years after a diagnosis of breast cancer, the unemployment rate among these women was nearly 30%, more than 3 times the national unemployment rate.
A diagnosis of breast cancer can financially destroy a family, not only because of the cost of treating the underlying medical condition but also because the cancer patient may lose her job and then may be unable to re-enter the workforce, researchers announced here at the 34th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference (SABCS).
That's the common perception, but is it accurate? Investigators at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles have put numbers to this hypothesis.
In a 5-year longitudinal study, they surveyed 921 survivors of breast cancer in California about their employment status after their cancer diagnoses. One surprising finding was that the unemployment rate among this group 5 years later was still nearly 30%. This is more than 3 times higher than the national unemployment rate.
Why is it important to study and put numbers to this issue? According to lead author Victoria Blinder, MD, MSc, from the Health Outcomes Research Group in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, most of the prior unemployment studies of cancer survivors have focused on middle- to upper-income white women, who had return-to-work rates of 70% to 80% within 1 year of diagnosis.
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