Wednesday 10 December 2014

Cancer Rehab and Return to Work

More People Surviving Cancer Due to Improved Treatments

Although returning to work after cancer can be challenging, rehab can play a valuable role

Returning to work following a cancer diagnosis is more viable than it ever has been before. More people are surviving cancer due to improved treatments, better diagnostics and the fact that many are being diagnosed at a younger age. Although returning to work can sometimes be a challenge, rehabilitation can play a valuable role in achieving this important step in the transition from illness to wellness. The success and durability of their return to work depends on many factors which we are only now beginning to recognize.

Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation is Effective in the Return to Work Process

Research shows that the majority of people who are diagnosed with cancer want to return to work however many struggle to do so and end up having to leave or change jobs, if they manage to return at all. So how are we best able to support and encourage this return to work process?  A Cochrane review article, including 18 research studies and 1652 participants studied the effectiveness of interventions aimed at enhancing return to work in cancer patients. They concluded that there is moderate quality evidence to suggest that multidisciplinary interventions involving physical, psychological and vocational components led to higher return to work rates. Multidisciplinary rehab should always be considered over the “wait and see” approach.
(de Boer A, Taskila T., Frings-Dresen M, Feurstein M., Verbeek, J: Interventions to enhance return-to-work for cancer patients: A Cochrane Review. Proceeding of the First Scientific Conference on Work Disability Prevention and Integration.  2010)

Rehabilitation Not Routinely Offered

The current research recommends rehabilitation to address and treat the cancer related and cancer treatment related “side effects” for improved functional outcomes. However it is clear that although rehabilitation services are needed they are not usually received by cancer survivors. Only 19% of breast cancer patients reported having received any physical, psychological or educational rehabilitation service. The medical profession continues to be disease centered and there continues to be a lack of consideration of the possible rehabilitation services, which in turn negatively impacts successful return to work. In many cases the health disability insurance companies are left to encourage and fund this important step in the recovery process.
(Silver Jk, Gilchrist LS: Cancer Rehabilitation with a focus on evidence-based outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy Interventions. Am.J. Phys.Med. Rehabil. Vol 90, No 5 (Suppl), May 2011)

Cancer Rehabilitation is Cost Effective

A recent large government funded review in the UK found that structured vocational interventions can be both beneficial to individuals and cost effective. They claim that if a cancer patient is supported back into work the cost of the intervention pays for itself within the first 12 weeks that they otherwise would not have worked. This study demonstrates “that personalised and timely vocational rehabilitation interventions do result in better work and health outcomes for people with cancer and can be cost effective.” Assisting people with cancer back to work has a positive economic impact for everyone involved.
(Macmillan (2013) Making the Shift: Providing specialist work support to people with cancer. London. Macmillan Cancer Support)

Early Results from Rehab Professionals Working With Cancer Patients Are Positive

In 2013 LifeMark/Centric Health embarked upon a strategy to train our clinicians, to improve our Cancer Rehab services and to begin to meet the rehabilitation needs of the almost one million cancer survivors living in Canada today. We wanted to ensure that our rehabilitation professionals were prepared with the latest evidence based information on Cancer Rehabilitation.

Moving beyond the research and into clinical care in our clinics, we are beginning to see the evidence borne out in our own clinical results.  The early results from our Cancer Rehabilitation services are beginning to show the positive impact on our patient’s lives.

  • 100% of patients attained their return to activities of daily living goals;
  • 90% of patients attained their symptom improvements goals; and
  • 74% of patients attained their return to work goals

To find out more about Cancer Rehab Canada please see our website.

Please contact one of our 62 Cancer Rehab locations across Canada. Links will direct to a Cancer Rehab provider in your area.

British Columbia

1 comment:

  1. I had read somewhere that hormone replacement therapy can do great to cancer patients. Cancer survivor can still get back to work, however, there are lots of cases where their cancer go back. I think, cancer therapy should be improve more.