Health care professionals' perspective on return to work in cancer survivors

Dana Yagil, Nofar Eshed-Lavi, Rafi Carel, Miri Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Health care professionals play a significant role in cancer survivors' decisions regarding return to work (RTW). While there is ample research about cancer survivors' views on RTW, little is known about the views of the professionals who accompany them from diagnosis to recovery. The study explores professionals' perceptions of cancer survivors in the RTW context, as well as their views about their own role in the process. Methods: In-depth interviews (N = 26) with professionals specializing in physical or mental health working with working-age cancer survivors: occupational physicians, oncologists, oncology nurses, social workers, and psychologists specializing in oncology. Results: An analysis of the interviews revealed 2 prominent perceptual dimensions among professionals: the cancer survivor's motivation to RTW and understanding illness-related implications upon returning to work. The 2 dimensions imply the following 4 groups of cancer survivors in the RTW context, as viewed by health professionals: the “realist,” the “enthusiast,” the “switcher,” and the “worrier.” The results also indicate that social workers and psychologists view their role in terms of jointly discussing options and implications with the cancer survivor, while physicians and nurses view their role more in terms of providing information and suggestions. Conclusions: The training of professionals should increase awareness of the assumptions they make about cancer survivors in regard to RTW. Additionally, training might elaborate professionals' view of their role in the interaction with cancer survivors regarding RTW.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1206-1212
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • cancer survivors
  • health care professionals
  • oncology
  • perceptions
  • return to work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Health care professionals' perspective on return to work in cancer survivors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this