Bradley, C. J., Neumark, D., Luo, Z., Bednarek, H., Schenk, M.
BACKGROUND: Some organizations recommend prostate cancer screening for men younger than age 65 years, many of whom will be employed when they are diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. Yet little is known about how prostate cancer and its treatment affect men’s employment status. Consequently, we explored employment outcomes 6 and 12 months after the diagnosis of prostate cancer. METHODS: We collected data from a prospective, population-based, longitudinal cohort of 267 men aged 30-65 years who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and compared their likelihood of employment to that of men in two population-based control groups of 283 and 256 men without prostate cancer. The study outcomes were, among all participants, employment status and, among patients with prostate cancer, reasons why they remained employed, reasons why their weekly hours worked changed, and work-related disabilities. We predicted employment using probit regression models. In addition, we tested differences between the samples with two-sample Wilcoxon rank sum tests and chi-square tests. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS: Patients with prostate cancer were 10 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.50 to 17.51 percentage points; P = .009) less likely to be working 6 months after their diagnosis than men without prostate cancer. However, at 12 months after diagnosis, the likelihood of employment for prostate cancer patients and control subjects was not statistically significantly different (P = .771). Some patients reported that cancer and its treatment interfered with their ability to perform physical and cognitive tasks at work 12 months after diagnosis. For example, 26% (95% CI = 18.51% to 33.87%) of men (33 patients) reported that cancer interfered with their ability to perform tasks that involved physical effort. CONCLUSIONS: Prostate cancer and its treatment appear to have an impact on employment.