Rehabilitation using high-intensity physical training and long-term return-to-work in cancer survivors

  • Thijs K
  • De Boer A
  • Vreugdenhil G
 et al. 
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Abstract

Introduction: Due to large and increasing numbers of cancer survivors, long-term cancer-related health issues have become a major focus of attention. This study examined the relation between a high-intensity physical rehabilitation program and return-to-work in cancer survivors who had received chemotherapy. Methods: The intervention group, consisting of 72 cancer survivors from one hospital (8 men and 64 women, mean age 49 years), followed an 18-weeks rehabilitation program including strength and interval training, and home-based activities. An age-matched control group, consisting of 38 cancer survivors (9 men and 29 women), was recruited from two other hospitals. They received only standard medical care. All subjects were evaluated during a telephone interview on employment issues, conducted at ±3 years after diagnosis. The main outcomes were change in working hours per week and time until return-to-work. Results: Patients in the intervention group showed significant less reduction in working hours per week [−5.0 h/week vs. −10.8 h/week (P = .03)]. Multivariate analyses showed that the training intervention, the age of patients, and the number of working hours pre-diagnosis could explain the improvement in long-term participation at work. Time until (partial) return-to-work was 11.5 weeks for the intervention group versus 13.2 weeks for the control group (P = .40). On long-term follow-up, 78% of the participants from the intervention group versus 66% from the control group had returned to work on the pre-diagnosis level of working hours (P = .18). Conclusion: Rehabilitation using high-intensity physical training is useful for working patients to minimize the decreased ability to work resulting from cancer and its treatment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)(journal abstract)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cancer
  • Employment
  • Exercise
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sick leave
  • Sports
  • Work

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Authors

  • Karin M. Thijs

  • Angela G E M De Boer

  • Gerard Vreugdenhil

  • Agnès J. Van De Wouw

  • Saskia Houterman

  • Goof Schep

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