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In terms of disease/treatment factors, only time elapsed since treatment cessation was positively associated with return to work.
Generally, no conclusive findings were identified across studies in terms of disease stage, cancer site and person-related factors.
With improvements in diagnosis, treatment and survival rates, the impact of cancer on paid work is of increasing importance.
The following article provides an overview of the published literature examining the (i) rate of return to work for cancer survivors, (ii) models for understanding return to work after cancer survivorship and (iii) factors associated with return to work rates (Figure 1).
Return to work following cancer has been of research interest since at least 1973 when the President of the American Cancer Society described it as ‘a joint responsibility of all society’ .
A series of American studies published between 19 [2–4] showed high rates of return to work after cancer but highlighted two main categories of difficulties experienced by cancer survivors—(i) disease and treatment issues and (ii) workplace issues including health insurance, attitudes of co-workers and managers and job discrimination.
Bradley and Bednarek  found that 67% of the 141 cancer survivors in their sample employed at the time of diagnosis were still in full-time employment 5–7 years later.
Feldman [2–4] identified cancer site as an important variable in this context in the late 1970s.Another review  examined a total of 18 studies published between 19 using six methodological criteria: (i) use of population-based samples from cancer registries to avoid selection bias; (ii) prospective and longitudinal assessment commencing as near to diagnosis and initial treatment as possible to gauge short- and long-term impact; (iii) detailed assessment of work intensity, role and content at multiple time points; (iv) assessment of impact of cancer on individual and family's economic status; (v) identification of multi-dimensional moderators of return to work and function (e.g.