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Women Less Likely To Be Employed After Breast Cancer Treatment

Update Date: Apr 28, 2014 09:36 AM EDT

Nearly 33 percent of breast cancer survivors who were working when they began treatment were unemployed four years later, a new study has found. 

According to the study, women who received chemotherapy were most affected. 

The research involved around 750 women residing in Detroit and Los Angeles who were diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and were working at the time they were diagnosed. Participants of the study were surveyed about nine months post diagnosis and then were given a follow-up survey about four years later. 

Overall, 30 percent of these working women said they were no longer working at the time of the four-year follow-up survey. Women who received chemotherapy were more likely to report that they were not working four years later, the accompanying press release said. 

Majority of these women reported that they didn't want to work. More than 50 percent of those not working said it was important for them to work while 39 percent of them agreed they were actively looking for work. 

The study added that those who were not working were significantly more likely to report they were worse off financially. 

"Many doctors believe that even though patients may miss work during treatment, they will 'bounce back' in the longer term. The results of this study suggest otherwise. Loss of employment is a possible long-term negative consequence of chemotherapy that may not have been fully appreciated to date," said lead study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan Medical School, in a press release.

According to American Cancer Society, 235,030 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone and around 40,000 will die from the disease.

The study has been published in the journal Cancer.

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