To investigate how cancer survivors (CSs) experience the cancer-related support they get at the workplace, the proportion of CSs who change work due to cancer and the sociodemographic and work-related factors associated with CSs' work changes.
CSs of the 10 most common invasive types of cancer for men and women in Norway completed a mailed questionnaire 15-39 months after primary treatment. All CSs who were working when diagnosed were included in the analyses (n = 1115). Leaving the workforce and making other important changes in paid work were regarded as work changes.
When diagnosed with cancer, 84% of the CSs experienced their supervisor as caring vs. 90% for colleagues. At the time of the survey, 84% were still working; 24% had made changes in work due to the cancer. Work changes due to cancer were most common among CSs who reported low supervisor support related to the cancer (odds ratio (OR) 0.78) and high physical (OR 2.48) and psychological job demands (OR 1.39) at the time of diagnosis. Work changes were more common among self-employed CSs than among employees (OR 2.03). CSs with high education (OR 0.59) and medium income (OR 0.66) made fewer work changes than other CSs, but these differences were not significant when controlled for the work factors.
Close follow-up by supervisors should be a key element in workplace health promotion programmes for CSs. Further, the programmes should target both physical and psychosocial work factors.