Employment situation among long-term Hodgkin lymphoma survivors in Europe: an analysis of patients from nine consecutive EORTC-LYSA trials

Purpose: Little is known about the employment situation of long-term Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors despite their young age at diagnosis and the favorable prognosis of the disease. In this cross-sectional study, we aim to describe the employment situation in a cohort of long-term HL survivors compared to the general population and investigate the associations with disease characteristics and treatment exposure.

Methods: HL survivors > 25 years (n = 1961) were matched 1:25 to controls (n = 49,025) from the European Union Labour Force Survey. Individual treatment information was obtained from trial records. Employment and socio-demographic characteristics were collected using the Life Situation Questionnaire. Logistic regression models were used to estimate associations between disease and treatment characteristics with employment status and work-related attitudes.

Results: At employment assessment, 69.7% of survivors (95% CI: 67.6–71.7%) were working; of these, 68.9% (95% CI: 66.3–71.3%) worked full-time, a figure comparable to that of controls (p value 0.17). The risk of not working was associated with increasing age at diagnosis, increasing age at survey, female sex, lower educational level, and relapse history. Of those who were at work during treatment, 16.8% (95% CI: 14.5–19.3%) stated their income had subsequently decreased, which was attributed to their HL by 65.4% (95% CI: 57.5–72.8). Among those not at work, 25.1% (95% CI: 20.7–29.8) survivors were disabled compared to only 14.5% (95% CI: 13.8–15.3%) of controls.

Conclusions: In this cohort of HL survivors, employment status was comparable to that of the general population. However, increasing age at follow-up, female sex, lower educational level, and relapse history are risk factors for unemployment, a perceived decrease in income, and disability. Implications for Cancer Survivors: To further improve follow-up care, special attention should be paid to these vulnerable subgroups.

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