277P - Breast cancer: Are employment and therapy compatible, and for whom?

Date 29 September 2014
Event ESMO 2014
Session Poster Display session
Topics Bioethics, Legal, and Economic Issues
Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Breast Cancer
Presenter Eric-Charles Antoine
Citation Annals of Oncology (2014) 25 (suppl_4): iv85-iv109. 10.1093/annonc/mdu327
Authors E. Antoine1, G.M. Ganem2, C. Touboul3, H. Naman4, N. Dohollou5, T. Facchini6, Y. Coscas7, A. Lortholary8, S. Catala9, S. Jacquot10, C. Lhomel11, F. Eisinger12
  • 1Clinique Du Sein, ARETASC - Clinique Hartmann, 92200 - Neuilly sur Seine/FR
  • 2Oncologie, Clinique Victor Hugo, Le Mans/FR
  • 3Oncology, Kantar Health, 92120 - Montrouge/FR
  • 4Oncologie, Centre azuréen de Cancérologie, Mougins/FR
  • 5Oncology, Polyclinique Bordeaux Nord Aquitaine, Bordeaux/FR
  • 6Oncology, Polyclinique de Courlancy, Reims/FR
  • 7Oncology, Clinique de la porte de Saint-Cloud, Boulogne Billancourt/FR
  • 8Oncology, Centre Catherine de Sienne, Nantes/FR
  • 9Cancérologie: Radiothérapie - Oncologie, Clinique saint pierre, Perpignan/FR
  • 10Oncologie Radiothérapie, Centre Radiothérapie et Cancérologie Médicale Docteurs Lauche Régal Lafforgue, Montpellier/FR
  • 11Institutional Oncology, Roche SAS, 92650 - Boulogne-Billancourt/FR
  • 12Oncology, IPC Inserm UMR 599, 13009 - Marseille/FR



Society now makes it easier for women with breast cancer to make important decisions about their disease management. The likelihood of long survival makes the issue of pursuing work during treatment a genuine reality for women and their physicians.


In 2012, we conducted a survey of 97 physicians involved in breast cancer treatment (medical oncologists, radiotherapists, surgeons) and 216 women who declared their intention to pursue their professional activity despite the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.


Thirty one percent (N = 68) achieved their objective and 61% (N = 132), with at least one day off work, did not (no answers for 7%, N = 16). Comparison of these two groups reveals many factors associated with an increased success rate: job satisfaction (77.9% vs. 56.8%; p ≤ 0.05), a higher perceived benefit of work on both psychological well-being (average 8.60/10 vs. 7.69/10; p ≤ 0.05) and social life (average 8.36/10 vs.7.59/10; p ≤ 0.05), flexibility of medical encounters (80.9% vs. 65.9%; p ≤ 0.05) and information received from the physician (85.3% vs. 70.5%; p ≤ 0.05). Interestingly, women who achieved their objective were likely to have more people under their supervision (mean = 26.9 versus 7.3; p ≤ 0.05) suggesting that social responsibility may be an impetus for working during treatment. The type of treatment also had an impact on the rate of success: positive impact for radiotherapy alone (35.3% vs. 19.7%; p ≤ 0.05) and negative for chemotherapy (30.9% vs. 47.0%; p ≤ 0.05). Positions with a high level of perceived psychological stress were associated with a lower success rate (20.6% vs. 36.4%; p ≤ 0.05). Interestingly, with no clear, direct causal link, women who achieved their objective were more likely, at the end of their treatment, to still be in the same job (69.1% versus 37.9 % p ≤ 0.05). The declared motivations for maintaining a professional activity (personal, social, financial) had no significant impact on the success rate.


With the anticipated improvement in the benefit/adverse effects ratio of therapy and the increasing move towards therapeutic de-escalation, the question of working during treatment is likely to become more widespread and physicians should be more aware of this aspiration.


E. Antoine: Consultant fees from Roche. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.