Work and education interruption in long-term Hodgkin lymphoma survivors: an analysis among patients from nine EORTC-LYSA trials

Background: Disease-specific studies on the impact of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) on education or work interruption and resumption are lacking. 

Material and methods: In a cross-sectional study conducted among long-term HL survivors enrolled from 1964 to 2004 in nine randomised EORTC-LYSA trials, the interruption and resumption of education/work was investigated. Survivors alive 5–44 years after diagnosis who were studying or working at time of diagnosis were included (n = 1646). Patient and treatment characteristics were obtained from trial records. Education and work outcomes were collected using the Life Situation Questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to model education or work interruption; Cox regression was used to study resumption rates.

Results: Among survivors studying at time of diagnosis (n = 323), 52% (95% CI: 46–57%) interrupted their education; however, it was resumed within 24 months by 92% (95% CI: 87–96%). The probability of interruption decreased with time: the more recent the treatment era, the lower the risk (OR 0.70 per 10 years, 95% CI: 0.49–1.01). Treatment with radiotherapy (yes vs. no) was associated with a higher education resumption rate (HR 2.01, 95% CI 1.07–3.78) whereas age, sex, stage, radiotherapy field and chemotherapy were not. Among survivors working at time of diagnosis (n = 1323), 77% (95% CI: 75–79%) interrupted their work. However, it was resumed within 24 months by 86% (95% CI: 84%-88%). Women were more likely to interrupt their work as compared to men (OR 1.90, 95% CI: 1.44–2.51) and, when interrupted, less likely to resume work (HR 0.70, 95% CI: 0.61–0.80). Survivors with a higher educational level were less likely to interrupt their work (OR 0.68 for university vs. no high school, 95% CI: 0.46–1.03); and when interrupted, more likely to resume work (HR 1.50 for university vs. no high school, 95% CI: 1.21–1.86). Increasing age was also associated with lower resumption rates (HR 0.62 for age ≥50 vs. 18–29 years, 95% CI: 0.41–0.94). 

Conclusion: An interruption in education/work was common among long-term HL survivors. However, most of the survivors who interrupted their studies or work had resumed their activities within 24 months. In this study, no associations between survivors’ characteristics and failure to resume education were observed. Female sex, age ≥50 years, and a lower level of education were found to be associated with not resuming work after treatment for HL.

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