Breast cancer patients suffer considerable wage losses in first year after diagnosis

February 26, 2008

Canadian women diagnosed with early breast cancer lose, on average, more than a quarter of their typical income during the first 12 months after their diagnosis, according to a study published online February 26 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Although a number of studies have assessed the economic impact of breast cancer on the healthcare system, few studies have examined the impact the disease has on the financial status of patients and their families.

In the current study, Elizabeth Maunsell, Ph.D., of Laval University in Quebec City and colleagues interviewed 829 women in Quebec who had recently been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. During the course of three interviews, scheduled at one, six, and 12 months after treatment began, the researchers asked the participants about their working status prior to diagnosis, the amount of time absent from work due to breast cancer, and the different types of compensation received during their absence from work, such as payments from sick leave and other forms of disability insurance. Finally, the investigators asked women about their perceptions of their financial situation and whether these perceptions had changed for the worse 12 months after diagnosis.

Of the 800 women who completed all three interviews, 459 had paying jobs at the time of diagnosis. Among the 403 women who had an absence or reduced hours of work, the researchers found that, on average, the women lost 27 percent of the wages they would have earned in the 12 months following their diagnosis had they not been ill, even after all other forms of compensation had been taken into account. Ten percent of the women lost more than two-thirds of their income.

The percentage of annual wages lost varied considerably in the study population. The women who were more likely to suffer large wage losses were less educated, lived farther from the hospital where they underwent treatment, had more serious disease, had less social support, required chemotherapy, or were self-employed, worked part-time or were recently hired at their current job.

"Overall, these findings point to wage losses from breast cancer in Canada as an important adverse consequence of this disease," the authors write. "These findings should sensitize clinicians to the real extent to which wage losses resulting from breast cancer can substantially and negatively affect the financial situation of working women and their families."
-end-
Contact: Jean Hamann, jean.hamann@scom.ulaval.ca, (418) 656-7266

Note to Reporters:

We have started up an e-mail list to alert reporters when papers are available on the EurekAlert site. If you would be interested on being on this list, please let us know at jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org. The content will continue to be available through EurekAlert's e-mail system and our EurekAlert page.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Attribution to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is requested in all news coverage. Visit the Journal online at http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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.