Return to work of breast cancer survivors: A systematic review of intervention studies

Authors: Howard, L., Heslin, M., Leesee, M., McCrone, P., Rice, C., Jarrett, M., Spokes, T., Huxley, P., & Thornicroft, G.
Year Published 2009
Publication BioMed Central Cancer
Volume 9
Number 117
Pages 1-10
Publisher BioMed Central

More working aged women are surviving breast cancer. As a result more are returning to work. Unfortunately, efforts related to employment or return to work have not been given adequate attention by the research community.


This review looked at various intervention studies that impact return to work for breast cancer survivors.


This study is a systematic review. The included studies were undertaken in various locations and settings.


The sample consisted of 4 studies involving women with breast cancer.

Data Collection

Database searches for studies conducted between 1970 and 2007 revealed 5219 studies. Four studies (1 published in the 1970's,2 in the 1980's and 1 in 2000)out of 100 potentially relevant abstracts were selected for review.


There were no comparison or control conditions.


Among the 4 studies that meet the inclusion criteria, the intervention programs focused on improvement of physical, psychological, and social recovery. Although the majority of participants in these studies returned to work (75% to 85%) it is not clear if this would have been lower for individuals who did not receive counseling,exercise, or any other interventions, because only one study included a comparison group.


There is a lack of methodologically sound intervention studies on breast cancer survivors and return to work. More sound research is needed.

Populations Female
Outcomes Return to work
Research Design Systematic reviews and meta-analysis
Peer Reviewed Yes