Dr Mandy Brink and colleagues from The Netherlands described the consequences of rectal cancer for paid and unpaid labor.
The investigative team looked at the effects of diagnosis and treatment over time and to identify sociodemographic-related factors.
The investigators also identified treatment-related factors, and quality of life-related factors associated with paid and unpaid labor.
Data were assessed prospectively in 2 samples of patients with primary rectal cancer, participating in a multicenter clinical trial.
The team randomized the patients to receive surgery with or without 5 × 5-Gy preoperative radiotherapy.
|After surgery, paid labor resumption increased from 19 to 63%|
|Diseases of the Colon & Rectum|
For paid labor, 292 patients who indicated paid labor before treatment filled out quality of life questionnaires.
The questionnaires included questions on paid labor at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery.
For unpaid labor, another sample of 92 patients also filled out the Health and Labor questionnaire.
The team included questions on unpaid labor, before treatment, and at 3 and 12 months after treatment.
From 3 to 18 months after surgery, paid labor resumption increased from 19 to 63%.
The investigators found that at 24 months after surgery, paid labor resumption was 61%.
In a multivariate analysis, age older than 55 years, and lower education level were associated with less or later resumption of paid labor preoperative radiotherapy.
Shorter time since surgery, lower valuation of overall health, and more physical symptom distress were also associated with less or later resumption of paid labor.
In addition, the investigators found that more limitations in daily activities were associated with less or later resumption of paid labor.
The average amount of unpaid labor increased from 17 hours per week at 3 months to 21 hours per week at 12 months after surgery.
In a multivariate analysis, only shorter time since surgery and male gender were related to less unpaid labor.
Dr Brink's team commented, “Diagnosis and treatment of rectal cancer affect paid and unpaid labor.”
“The impact on paid labor is most pronounced.”
“Multiple other sociodemographic and quality of life-related variables also were associated with paid labor.”
“Patient information and decision making on preoperative radiotherapy should include the effects on paid labor, and interventions focused on promoting paid labor participation in patients with rectal cancer should be tailored to the specific characteristics and needs of those patients.”