The role of neuropsychological functioning in cancer survivors' return to work one year after diagnosis
Article first published online: 22 OCT 2008
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 18, Issue 6, pages 589–597, June 2009
How to Cite
Nieuwenhuijsen, K., de Boer, A., Spelten, E., Sprangers, M. A.G. and Verbeek, J. H. A. M. (2009), The role of neuropsychological functioning in cancer survivors' return to work one year after diagnosis. Psycho-Oncology, 18: 589–597. doi: 10.1002/pon.1439
- Issue published online: 27 MAY 2009
- Article first published online: 22 OCT 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 JUL 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 25 JUL 2008
- Manuscript Received: 29 NOV 2007
- cognition disorders;
- neuropsychological tests;
- return to work
Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between neuropsychological functioning and the ability to work in cancer survivors.
Methods: The study involved a consecutive cohort of 45 patients who had received a primary diagnosis of cancer, were gainfully employed at baseline, and had been treated with curative intent. Twelve months after the first day of sick leave, they underwent a neuropsychological assessment that included executive function and verbal memory tests. Other clinical, person-related, and work-related factors were also assessed by questionnaire at this time. Ability to work was measured as perceived workability (0–10) and work status at 12 months of sick leave.
Results: Fifteen participants (33%) showed neuropsychological impairments covering various domains. The mean workability score of cancer survivors with neuropsychological impairment was 4.9, whereas those without impairments had a mean score of 6.0 (raw β = −0.19: 95% CI = −2.9 to 0.7; adjusted β = −0.15; 95% CI = −2.5 to 0.8). More cancer survivors with neuropsychological impairments (7/15, 47%) than without (9/30, 30%) had not yet returned to work (raw OR 0.5: 95% CI: 0.1–1.8; adjusted OR 0.5; 95% CI: 0.1–2.1).
Conclusions: To date, this is the largest study to assess neuropsychological functioning objectively in combination with perceived workability and work status. Impaired neuropsychological functioning was found in one-third of the cancer survivors and was related to a lower vocational functioning, but the relationship was not statistically significant. More research is needed to test the relevance of neuropsychological impairments for vocational functioning. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.