Labour Market Outcomes for Cancer Survivors: A Review of the Reviews

34 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2020

See all articles by Adelina Sharipova

Adelina Sharipova

Ghent University

Stijn Baert

Ghent University; University of Antwerp; Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)


Objectives: To synthesise the existing reviews conducted on the labour market outcomes of cancer survivors by focusing on (i) the convergences and divergences on the overall work-related outcomes, (ii) the moderating factors studied to date, and (iii) an identification of areas where more research is needed in the future.Methods: A systematic review of the existing reviews on labour market outcomes for cancer survivors was performed. Bibliographic search for eligible studies published before January 2019 involved the following three core concepts: (i) cancer survivors, (ii) work, and (iii) review. The quality of the included reviews was assessed based on the Johns Hopkins Hospital Evidence Level and Quality Guide. Following this, a narrative synthesis of the findings was completed.Results: In total, 35 articles met the inclusion criteria. The average return to work (RTW) rate varied between 54% and 66%. The self-reported work ability was consistently lower following cancer. This review also found strong converging evidence of self-reported discrimination after cancer. The effects on work performance showed several inconsistencies, possibly due to the use of different definitions of work performance. Most moderating factors for successful work outcomes showed converging evidence, except for age, marital status, cancer type, and country. We provide several possible explanations and linkages for these divergencies.Conclusions: Further investigation of causal relationships by (i) using matched control groups and by (ii) gathering longitudinal data, and the use of more standardised definitions of the outcome variables are the two main future research recommendations. Furthermore, no studies have succeeded in measuring the work outcomes objectively. We provide specific recommendations from an interdisciplinary context to solve this. Protocol registration: CRD42019139386.

Keywords: labour market outcomes, employment, return to work, cancer survivorship, review of reviews, research overview

JEL Classification: I1, I10, J2, J71

Suggested Citation

Sharipova, Adelina and Baert, Stijn, Labour Market Outcomes for Cancer Survivors: A Review of the Reviews. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12856. Available at SSRN:

Adelina Sharipova (Contact Author)

Ghent University

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000

Stijn Baert

Ghent University ( email )

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, Antwerp 2000

HOME PAGE: http://

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348

HOME PAGE: http://

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072


Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics