The impact of personal-, disease- and work-related factors on work ability of women with breast cancer living in the community: a cross-sectional survey study

Kin Cheung, Siu Yin Ching, Amy Chan, Doris Cheung, Suk Yee Polly Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aims of this study were to identify the work ability (WA) of breast cancer (BC) survivors during the course of their illness, and the relationships between personal-, disease-, and work-related factors, and their WA. Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey study. One hundred fifty-one participants with the response rate of 88.9% were recruited from the community in 2014 and 2015. Results: BC survivors’ WA was at its highest before diagnosis, and then dropped to the lowest during treatment. Although their current WA had improved, it has not bounced back to that before diagnosis. The resignation rate was 35.8%. Factors positively associated with current WA included (a) age and year of diagnosis, (b) physical and psychological health and (c) WA before diagnosis or during treatment, working years, work control and mastery. However, compliance with appropriate healthy eating habits and believing in personal health controlled by chance were negatively associated with current WA. Furthermore, the participants would more likely to have higher current WA if they (a) were more optimistic with good stress management; (b) currently were not receiving treatment or other illnesses; (c) perceived less effects of their health problems, physical workloads or their cancer diagnoses on their work and (d) perceived continue to work in the next 2 years, with good ability to handle physical and mental work. Conclusions: This study confirmed that most BC survivors continued to work after their diagnoses. The factors affecting their WA were multifactorial. It is important to enhance their positive thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3495-3504
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Course of the illness
  • Work ability
  • Work culture
  • Workplace psychological intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

Cite this