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The Working After Cancer Study (WACS): a population-based study of middle-aged workers diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their return to work experiences

Gordon, Louisa, Lynch, Brigid, Beesley, Vanessa, Graves, Nicholas, McGrath, Catherine, O'Rourke, Peter, & Webb, Penelope (2011) The Working After Cancer Study (WACS): a population-based study of middle-aged workers diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their return to work experiences. BMC Public Health, 11(604), pp. 1-7.

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Abstract

Background The number of middle-aged working individuals being diagnosed with cancer is increasing and so too will disruptions to their employment. The aim of the Working After Cancer Study is to examine the changes to work participation in the 12 months following a diagnosis of primary colorectal cancer. The study will identify barriers to work resumption, describe limitations on workforce participation, and evaluate the influence of these factors on health-related quality of life.

Methods/Design An observational population-based study has been designed involving 260 adults newly-diagnosed with colorectal cancer between January 2010 and September 2011 and who were in paid employment at the time they were diagnosed. These cancer cases will be compared to a nationally representative comparison group of 520 adults with no history of cancer from the general population. Eligible cases will have a histologically confirmed diagnosis of colorectal cancer and will be identified through the Queensland Cancer Registry. Data on the comparison group will be drawn from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Data collection for the cancer group will occur at 6 and 12 months after diagnosis, with work questions also asked about the time of diagnosis, while retrospective data on the comparison group will be come from HILDA Waves 2009 and 2010. Using validated instruments administered via telephone and postal surveys, data will be collected on socio-demographic factors, work status and circumstances, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for both groups while the cases will have additional data collected on cancer treatment and symptoms, work productivity and cancer-related HRQoL. Primary outcomes include change in work participation at 12 months, time to work re-entry, work limitations and change in HRQoL status.

Discussion This study will address the reasons for work cessation after cancer, the mechanisms people use to remain working and existing workplace support structures and the implications for individuals, families and workplaces. It may also provide key information for governments on productivity losses.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 52097
Item Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-604
ISSN: 1471-2458
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Funding:
Copyright Owner: © 2011 Gordon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Deposited On: 19 Jul 2012 16:27
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 22:21

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