Cancer Survivors and Sick Days
Frankly, this study baffles me. The report, published in full in Springer's Journal of Cancer Survivorship, found that cancer survivors took significantly more sick leave--even five years after treatment--than the control group of people who had not had cancer. To expand, the most important factors seem to be socio-economic, suggesting that single parents, those with lower educational and income levels, took more sick days than others. I am still confounded. The single parent part makes sense in general; children get sick, and parents have to stay home with them. If there is only one parent, that responsibility is going to fall more heavily. However, the numbers were greater with cancer survivors, and there is no obvious reason why their children wold be sick more often.
I have been thinking about this for a while, and cannot come up with an explanation. The first year or so after treatment, we would expect that many people would be slowly recovering their health and might well need some time off. You remember the rule of thumb that it takes at least as long as the duration of treatment to feel fully physically and emotionally recovered=that means months. But, after a year or two or three, that shouldn't be a factor. I surely have known a few women who felt that they never regained their pre-cancer baseline of energy, but they are a real minority. Most of us, factoring in normal aging, are feeling fine after some months separate us from the final chemotherapy or radiation beam. We can't understand these findings based only on the socio-economic factors, as those were controlled with the other group.
So, what is it? Do some people have a lower tolerance for feeling poorly and stay home more easily? Do some people too easily panic, worry that their malaise is somehow cancer related, and can't get past those fears to push themselves to work that day? Do some people self-identify as "sick" or at least not as "sturdy" and feel they must rest? I would really love to hear your ideas on this one. Again, with apologies, the comments section on this blog has been disabled, so please email me:email@example.com. I will share your comments on the blog.
Longterm cancer survivors struggle to keep regular work hours
Study says social factors, rather than the disease, predict amount of sick leave taken by cancer survivors Longterm cancer survivors take sick leave more often than their diseasefree colleagues, suggesting that they struggle at work despite their ability to work five years after diagnosis. These findings by Steffen Torp, from Vestfold University College in Norway, and colleagues is published online in Springer's Journal of Cancer Survivorship.
Most cancer survivors return to work. The ability to work following cancer treatment is important for maintaining selfrespect, identity and living standard. For society, keeping people employed is key both for economic reasons and to prevent social inequality. Research to date shows that most cancer survivors are able to return to work, though a significant proportion report a reduced ability to work.
Torp and team observed the sick leave patterns of cancer survivors for five consecutive years after diagnosis. They were also interested in factors that might predict the amount of sick leave taken during the fifth year, including sociodemographic factors (education, family status, annual income, and occupation) and clinical factors (cancer type and severity).