Understanding boss crucial for return to work, say breast cancer survivors

In collaboration with the Press Association

The vast majority of breast cancer survivors are able to return to their jobs after treatment says new research - but an understanding boss can make all the difference.

"Working women who develop breast cancer can be encouraged to know that they can maintain a high quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis," study chief Dr Reynard Bouknight told Reuters.

"Over 80 per cent of employed women in our study returned to their same job position within one year of their cancer diagnosis."

The study followed 416 employed women over 18 months after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The feeling that their employers understand their position was the factor most often reported as aiding a return to work. Almost 90 per cent of the women surveyed said that their employers were willing to accommodate their illness and treatment.

"Working breast cancer survivors can be helped immensely by an employer who is sensitive to their health care needs," said Dr Bouknight.

Women who felt that they did not have the support of their employers where less likely to return to work. Women who had generally poor health, who had advanced tumours or who had jobs involving heavy lifting were also less likely to return to the workplace.

"Regular breast cancer screening is important for working women since they are more likely to be able to return to their jobs if breast cancer is diagnosed early," said Dr Bouknight.