Cognitive challenges while at work and work output in breast cancer survivors employed in a rapidly evolving economy

Andy S.K. Cheng (Corresponding Author), Yingchun Zeng, Xiangyu Liu, Shaxin Liu, Stella W.C. Cheng, Cindy T.T. Kwok, Raymond C.K. Chung, Jianfei Xie, Michael Feuerstein

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether work output was related to cognitive limitations while at work in occupationally active breast cancer survivors (BCS) employed in a rapidly developing economy. Methods: Measures of demographics, job type, job stress, general distress (anxiety, depression), fatigue, work-related cognitive limitations, and work output were obtained using self-report measures in a cross-sectional study in both BCS and controls (n = 267/group). Results: Groups had similar educational backgrounds, job types, and levels of job stress. The BCS group was a median of 3.2 years post-primary treatment, slightly older, more likely to be divorced, have children, and was more likely working part-time. The BCS group reported higher levels of fatigue, general distress, and lower levels of work output (p <.05). A multivariate regression adjusting for group differences indicated that cognitive symptoms at work were related to lower levels of quantity, quality, and timeliness of completed work in the BCS group (adj. R2 =.57, unstandardized coefficient = 1.062, 95% CI =.436 to 1.689). Conclusion: When reported in the context of work, cognitive limitations were associated with lower levels of reported work output exclusively in the BCS group. Implications for Cancer Survivors: This study provides further evidence that cognitive limitations reported in the context of work in a developing country is similar to that of BCS working in more developed economies and is specific to BCS and not healthy workers with similar job types and job stress. Solutions to this problem may be applicable across countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-761
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Breast cancer survivors
  • Cognitive function at work
  • Fatigue and depression
  • Multicenter study
  • Work output

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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