For young adult cancer survivors, debt and work-related impairments

February 25, 2019

Student loans aren't the only reason young adults end up in debt. One of the largest-ever studies of work-related risks in young adult cancer survivors finds that of 872 survivors, 14.4 percent borrowed more than $10,000 and 1.5 percent said they or their family had filed for bankruptcy as a direct result of illness or treatment. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that cancer or treatment interfered with physical demands of their job, and 54 percent said that cancer or treatment interfered with their ability to perform mental tasks related to their job. The study also showed that not all cancers and not all treatments have the same effects on young survivors' financial outcomes. For example, those exposed to chemotherapy were more than three times as likely to borrow over $10,000, and more than three times as likely to report job-related mental impairment than survivors not treated with chemotherapy.

"This project combined the expertise of researchers with diverse training from major cancer centers throughout the U.S. in a team-science approach, which made it possible to gather and explore data from adolescent and young adult cancer survivors in new ways. As a result, this is among the first and largest studies to examine the impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment on work-related outcomes in this important understudied group of survivors," says Betsy Risendal, PhD, investigator at University of Colorado Cancer Center and associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health. Collaborating institutions included academic medical centers in Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Chapel Hill.

The study surveyed 872 young adults, ages 18 to 39 within 5 years of cancer diagnosis, but after at least a year since treatment ended. Participants included 241 survivors of breast cancer, 126 survivors of thyroid cancer, 126 survivors of leukemia/lymphoma, and 342 survivors of other cancer types. Interestingly, these cancer types tend to be treated with different modes of therapy, and types of therapy were associated with different long-term, work-related side effects.

For example, young adult patients treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer had 2.66 the risk of mental impairment on work-related tasks, and 2.62 times the risk of taking unpaid time off work, compared with breast cancer patients who did not receive chemotherapy. Survivors of the large category of other cancers showed 3.67 times the chance of mental impairment on work-related tasks and 3.43 times the risk of borrowing over $10,000 compared with the pool of survivors of the more common cancer types. While the degree of specific risks varied by cancer type and treatment, risks for debt, time off (paid and unpaid), and work-related impairment (physical and mental) were elevated across the board for young adult cancer survivors.

"The results of this study are important because they describe the challenges faced by adolescent and young adults during and after cancer treatment that could uniquely impact both educational and work-related opportunities," Risendal says.
-end-
Additional results are published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.