The changing relationship between health burden and work disability of Australian cancer survivors, 2003–2017: Evidence from a longitudinal survey

Mahumud, Rashidul Alam ORCID: and Alam, Khorshed ORCID: and Dunn, Jeff and Gow, Jeff (2020) The changing relationship between health burden and work disability of Australian cancer survivors, 2003–2017: Evidence from a longitudinal survey. BMC Public Health, 20:548. pp. 1-14. ISSN 1471-2458

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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the cancer health burden and the magnitude of work disability on cancer survivors in Australia from 2003 to 2017.

A longitudinal prospective study design was undertaken among cancer patients using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. The longitudinal effect was captured using a fixed effect multinomial logistic regression model, which predicted changes in the relationship between cancer burden and work disability level controlling for socio-demographic, lifestyle and life conditions predictors.

The prevalence of long-term disability among cancer survivors was 50%, with 18% of patients experiencing extreme work disability. The magnitude of disability levels increased significantly with the level of health burden. Cancer survivors who faced a severe health burden were at 5.32 times significantly higher risk of having work disability compared with patients who had no health burden. Other potential predictors, such as older patients (relative risk ratio, RRR = 1.82; 95% CI: 1.57, 5.87), those engaged in lower levels of physical activities (RRR = 1.91; 95% CI: 1.07, 3.40), those who drink alcohol (RRR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.15, 1.49), and poor socioeconomic status (RRR = 1.28; 95% CI: 1.16, 2.23) were all significantly associated with extreme work disability.

A substantial proportion of cancer survivors experienced work disability which was more pronounced with the magnitude of the cancer health burden. The different dimensions of disability might be prevented by introducing cancer survivor-specific evidence-based interventions, and incorporating comprehensive social support. Recommendations to improve public health policy aimed at reducing population-level unhealthy lifestyle behaviours include: using these findings to better outline the management of a sequelae course of treatment for cancer survivors; and identifying those who should undergo more intensive physical rehabilitation aimed at reducing their work disability level.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2020 04:12
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 02:34
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia; Cancer survivors; Health burden; Longitudinal prospective study; Work disability
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110311 Medical Genetics (excl. Cancer Genetics)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920204 Evaluation of Health Outcomes
C Society > 92 Health > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders
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