Social and work-related consequences after a cancer diagnosis
Breast, prostate, colon and rectal cancer and malignant melanoma account for >45% of the total cancer burden in Sweden, affecting over 8000 Swedes of working age each year. Earlier detection and new treatment modalities have improved the prognosis for these cancers in recent decades.
The number of younger cancer patients who wish to return to work and resume an active life is therefore expected to increase. However, both the disease and its treatment may have limiting physical, psychological and social consequences that complicate return to work and negatively affect life post diagnosis.
We aim to examine social and work life consequences after a diagnosis of these cancers in patients of working age. For each cancer site, we will examine reasons for and patterns of sick leave and disability pension post diagnosis, return to work, health care utilization, filings of prescribed drugs, receipt of social benefits, income and marital status in relation to severity of disease at diagnosis, treatment modality, socioeconomic status and comorbidity burden. Comparisons will be made with age matched controls free of cancer.
The results will be important not only for clinicians who treat patients, but will also help identify areas that need further development, such as rehabilitation and workplace adaptations in subsets of younger cancer patients with special need of support. The results could also have significance for the Swedish health insurance system and the labor market.