Employed cancer patients confront some challenges as they attempt to return to work after treatment. We aimed to identify correlates of return to work for cancer survivors in Japan, with an emphasis on employment status. Participants were 260 patients (aged <65 years) who had received a cancer diagnosis ≥1 year previously and who were employed at the time of diagnosis. Participants completed questionnaires at consultations at any Regional Cancer Center Hospitals in Yamagata, Japan between 28 November 2011 and 9 December 2011. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify correlates of return to work. Data cross-tabulation was used to evaluate relationships to workplace and income-changes by employment status. A high proportion of patients (75.8%) had returned to work. Non-regularly employed survivors were less likely to return to work (odds ratio = 5.03; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-21.35). Individuals with poor health, advanced-stage tumours, of advanced age and women were significantly less likely to return to work. Only 52.8% of non-regular employees continued to be employed, and their income decreased by as much as 61.1%. Social and financial support policies should be organised based on more intensive study of employment circumstances.
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