Employment trends in young women following a breast cancer diagnosis

Shoshana M. Rosenberg, Ines Vaz-Luis, Jingyi Gong, Padma Sheila Rajagopal, Kathryn J. Ruddy, Rulla M. Tamimi, Lidia Schapira, Steven Come, Virginia Borges, Janet S. de Moor, Ann H. Partridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Little is known about how a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment affects job-related outcomes in young women with breast cancer, who are an integral part of the workforce. We sought to describe employment trends among young breast cancer survivors. Methods: 911 women with non-metastatic breast cancer were surveyed about employment-related outcomes 1 year post-diagnosis. Participants were enrolled in the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Study an ongoing, multi-center cohort of women diagnosed with breast cancer at age ≤ 40. Results: Among 911 women, median age at diagnosis was 36 years (range 17–40). Most women (80%, n = 729) were employed 1 year post-diagnosis. Among the 7% (n = 62) employed before diagnosis but who reported unemployment at 1 year, approximately half reported they were unemployed for health reasons. Among employed women, 7% said treatment affected their ability to perform their job. Women with stage-three disease (vs. stage 1 disease, odds ratio (OR): 3.73, 95% CI 1.39–9.97) and those who reported having money to pay bills after cutting back or difficulty paying bills at baseline (vs. having enough money for special things, OR 2.70, 95% CI 1.32–5.52) at baseline were more likely to have transitioned out of the workforce. Conclusions: Our results suggest an impact of disease burden and socioeconomic status on employment in young breast cancer survivors. There is a need to ensure young survivors who leave the workforce following diagnosis are sufficiently supported given the potential adverse psychosocial and financial impacts of unemployment on survivors, their families, communities, and society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 30 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • Employment
  • Outcomes
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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