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Distinct employment interference profiles in patients with breast cancer prior to and for 12 months following surgery.



To identify subgroups of female breast cancer patients with distinct self-reported employment interference (EI) profiles and determine which demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics, and quality of life outcomes were associated with subgroup membership.


Women with breast cancer (n = 385) were assessed for changes in EI over ten times, from prior to, through 12 months after breast cancer surgery. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to identify subgroups of patients with distinct EI profiles.


Three distinct EI profiles (i.e., None - 26.2% (n = 101), Low - 42.6% (n = 164), High - 31.2% (n = 120)) were identified. Compared to the None and Low groups, patients in the High group were more likely to be younger. Higher proportions in the High group were non-White, pre-menopausal prior to surgery, had more advanced stage disease, had received an axillary lymph node dissection, had received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, had received adjuvant chemotherapy, and had a re-excision or mastectomy on the affected breast within 6 months after surgery. In addition, these patients had lower quality of life scores. Compared to the None group, the High group had higher levels of trait and state anxiety, depressive symptoms, fatigue and sleep disturbance and lower levels of cognitive function.


This study provides new knowledge regarding EI profiles among women in the year following breast cancer surgery. The non-modifiable risk factors (e.g., younger age, being non-White, having more advanced stage disease) can inform current screening procedures. The potentially modifiable risk factors can be used to develop interventions to improve employment outcomes of breast cancer patients.

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