After a careful investigation of the Symptom Outcomes and Practices Patterns study made by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, a research team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that one-third of metastatic cancer patients elects to continue their normal work. Said work is made either full or part time, depending on the severity of the diagnosis as well as the treatments applied to the patients.
From the SOPP study group comprised of 668 patients that had cancer, in some cases spread throughout the body, not just one specific region, 35% of them continued their work. Out of this percentage, eventually, 45% of them stopped working while 58% showed a change in their employment status, opting for a part time job or undertaking less strenuous activities during full-time work.
What surprised researchers was that the choice of continuing their work was not dependent on the type of cancer or the date at which it was diagnosed. The main factor was the severity of symptoms presented by the onset of said disease. Depending on how their body was affected, if their ability to carry out the various tasks required at their workplace was hindered in any way, patients would opt for shorter working hours or even finding jobs in another part of the market.
What is not entirely surprising is the choice to work itself. By maintaining a relatively normal lifestyle even after a cancer diagnosis, patients are able to keep their mind off their diseases, providing a rather hefty morale boost. The added income benefit is extremely helpful as well, providing the funds necessary for the rather expensive cancer treatments required. The impact made by workplace colleagues is important as well, but the response to either ignorance toward their condition or an increase in sensibility directed towards the patient differs from person to person.
By lessening the psychological impact of such a heavy diagnosis, the patient will be able to cope in a better way with the disease. Even if in most cases metastatic cancer patients have an extremely short lifespan, ranging from 1 year to 5, the choice of continuing their work is still their own. But this is entirely dependent on the type of work they conduct. If it hinders treatment or provides a large amount of stress to the patient in question, doctors strongly advise a reduction in working hours or even taking a prolonged holiday.
Because one-third of metastatic cancer patients elects to continue their normal work, workplaces should start considering an improvement in working conditions towards said patients. By providing a more suitable work space, as well as understanding that in some cases, a full-time job cannot be carried out as efficiently as before, a more friendly environment can be created. This will help both the patients requiring moral support and a way to somewhat ignore their medical condition and the companies at which they conduct their jobs as well.