Breast cancer treatment and work disability: Patient perspectives

Corine Tiedtke*, Bernadette Dierckx de Casterle, Angelique de Rijk, Marie-Rose Christiaens, Peter Donceel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Most female breast cancer patients are forced to interrupt their professional activities during treatment. Qualitative research was carried out to assess women's experiences of being work disabled because of breast cancer. Patients and methods: In-depth interviews were analyzed to understand patient's experiences and to gain more insight in their perspectives on living with breast cancer. Results: We identified a 'three-experience model': (1) disruption, with the feeling of irreparable loss, despair and no hope for the future; (2) episode, an unpleasant and inconvenient period, after which life continues as before; and/or (3) meaningful period, during which new life priorities' are set. Conclusion: The different experiences will require different types of support, especially concerning communication around disability and returning to work. Our findings highlight the need of an individual approach of the management of work disability for breast cancer patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-538
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Cancer
  • Work
  • Disability
  • Experiences
  • Patient perspectives
  • Qualitative


Dive into the research topics of 'Breast cancer treatment and work disability: Patient perspectives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this