One-third of Breast Cancer Patients Unemployed After Treatment

Recently published in the journal Cancer is a survey study of 1026 women with breast cancer under age 65 . After a follow-up of four years, 30 % of women who had been employed before their diagnosis of breast cancer were now out of work. Most of these women wanted to work and 31% were looking for employment. Getting chemotherapy was most related  to a woman being unemployed after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The authors of this study state that the risk of post-treatment unemployment should be considered in giving chemotherapy, especially in low risk breast cancer patients. I would add that this has implications for women with a high risk of breast cancer from family history or other factors. If a high-risk woman is the sole care-giver for her family without other resources, a diagnosis of breast cancer might lead to a situation that could impoverish her and her family. This study’s findings also improves the economics of taking risk-reducing medicine and undergoing risk-reducing mastectomies for high risk women.

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