Work productivity

Decreased productivity at work can be a common side effect of cancer and its treatment. Studies conclude that cancer and treatment-related effects, such as disease progression and severity, cognitive and neurological impairments, poor physical and psychological status, the effects of chemotherapy, and the time and expense related to treatment are the most prominent factors affecting productivity.

Both survivors and caregivers are affected by low work productivity since they have to dedicate so much time and energy dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The improvement in survival after cancer has made this issue much more current. Nearly half of the approximately one million Canadians who have survived cancer for at least 10 years are under 65 years of age – that is, they are in the prime of their working life. Rehabilitation textbooks address the conditions that affect people with disabilities, but cancer is not included in the great majority of them.[1] Psychosocial interventions tend to focus on the period right after treatment ends, but there is little intervention in the long term. (Please see the section on work and the financial aspects of survivorship.)

[1] Patricia Nitkin, Maureen Parkinson, Izabela Z. Schultz. Cancer and Work: A Canadian Perspective. January, 2011.