Unemployment Higher Among Childhood Cancer Survivors in Poor Health

They're 8 times more likely to be out of work than those in good health, study finds

MONDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of unemployment is high for adult childhood cancer survivors with poor health, a new study finds.

U.S. researchers looked at the health and occupation/job status of 5,836 childhood cancer survivors aged 25 and older. Those in poor physical health were eight times more likely to be unemployed than those with good health.

The study also found that childhood cancer survivors with neurocognitive problems were less likely to hold professional positions and more likely to have part-time or low-skilled jobs. And among those with neurocognitive deficits, women were more likely than men to be working in lower-skilled jobs.

The study appears Aug. 15 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

While more children with cancer are surviving, the treatments used to save their lives can put them at risk for health complications later in life, and these health issues can affect their ability to work.

Difficulty finding a good job can also affect a survivors' access to health insurance coverage, which is crucial to help them manage any long-term complications from their cancer and treatments, the researchers noted.

"Childhood cancer survivors should be educated about the risks, be screened for any limitations, and learn strategies to manage those limitations in an effort to ensure they have more successful employment outcomes," study author Anne Kirchhoff, an investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said in a journal news release.

She conducted the study while she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about the late effects of childhood cancer treatment.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, news release, Aug. 15, 2011

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