The impact of cancer on employment among cancer survivors


  • Maryam Jafari Bidgoli Department of Community Medicine and Population Health, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
  • Allen C. Goodman Department of Economics, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA



Cancer survivors, Employment, Hours of work, Economic burden, Health insurance


Background: This study investigates the short- and long-term effects of cancer on the probability of working and hours of work among male and female cancer survivors.

Methods: We used 1996-2010 data from the Health and Retirement Study and estimate the cancer effect on employment status and work hours among cancer survivors. In addition to the incidence of cancer, we control demographic and financial characteristics. The sample comprises 7,551 individuals. The prevalence estimate of cancer was 4.3% for males (N=562) and 5.2% for females (N=855). The average time since diagnosis was 5.07 years (SD=5.6; range: 1-38) for males and 7.76 years (SD=7.72 range: 1-40) for females.

Results: Female and male cancer survivors experience different labor market outcomes following diagnosis. For females, two years or less since diagnosis, the probability of working was eight percentage points (p<0.01) less than that for the control group. For males, there was a seven-percentage point (p<0.01) reduction between three and five years since diagnosis. Employed men, two years or less since diagnosis, worked 2.76 hours (p<.10) less per week; employed women, three to five years since diagnosis, worked 4.70 hours (p<0.05) less per week. For married men, the availability of a spouse’s employer-provided health plan decreased the probability of working by nine percentage points. For married women, this effect was stronger by 15 percentage points.

Conclusions: The reduction in work following a cancer diagnosis causes survivors to experience a greater economic burden. Policymakers should formulate policies to decrease this economic burden.


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How to Cite

Bidgoli, M. J., & Goodman, A. C. (2022). The impact of cancer on employment among cancer survivors. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 9(12), 4351–4358.



Original Research Articles