Returning to work following curative chemotherapy: a qualitative study of return to work barriers and preferences for intervention

Vikki Knott, Stephanie Zrim, E. Michael Shanahan, Peter Anastassiadis, Sharon Lawn, Ganessan Kichenadasse, Shawgi Sukumaran, Christos Karapetis, Bogda Koczwara

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    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This study aimed to explore barriers to return to work (RTW) and preferences for intervention and support for cancer patients treated with curative intent from the perspectives of cancer survivors and oncology health professionals.

    Methods: Participants attended a focus group (N = 24) or an individual interview (N = 14). A topic guide and a semi-structured recorded interview format were used to gather data, which were later transcribed and analysed for global themes and subthemes.

    Results: With regard to barriers, the global theme ‘work capacity’ captured an array of barriers encompassing financial pressure, preparedness for work, lack of confidence as well as other key physical, practical and psychosocial barriers. Participants expressed a preference for RTW models that focus on objective and structured assessment whilst allowing for flexibility to address individual needs.

    Conclusions: Cancer survivors perceive multiple barriers when attempting to RTW. These barriers were perceived to impact upon work capacity, where ‘capacity’ was defined broadly to include practical, physical and psychosocial concerns. RTW is an important concern for cancer survivors and structured RTW interventions should be incorporated into the care of cancer survivors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3263-3273
    Number of pages11
    JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


    • Barriers to RTW
    • Occupational rehabilitation
    • RTW interventions
    • Return to work (RTW)
    • Supportive care

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oncology

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