Preliminary results from feasibility trial of a workbook intervention to support return-to-work for cancer survivors

  • L. Schumacher
  • M. Armaou
  • S. Sadhra
  • A. Sutton
  • P. Rolf
  • A. Zarkar
  • E. Grunfeld


Background: Over 100,000 people of working age receive a diagnosis of cancer annually in the UK and returning to work is recognised as a key aspect of cancer survivorship and returning to normality post-treatment. However, returning to work can present a number of challenges and we developed a workbook based intervention to support cancer survivors returning to work. This study aimed to explore the engagement and experiences of cancer survivors participating in a workbook based intervention (WorkPlan) to support return to work. Methods: Sixty-seven cancer survivors were recruited and randomised into either the intervention or the usual care arm of a feasibility RCT trial. Qualitative interviews were conducted with participants in the intervention arm at one month post-intervention and with all participants at 12 months; interviews at both times explored how participants managed their return-to-work and how engagement with the intervention provided support in that process (if applicable). Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a Framework approach. Findings: 23 participants were interviewed. Results indicate that the workbook supported participants to create a return to work plan and communicate with their employer; participants cited this as crucial to managing their return-to-work. In addition, the workbook format of the intervention was well received with participants and they suggested ways in which hard copy materials and the act of writing were preferable to online interventions. Discussion: The present study demonstrates how a workbook based intervention can support cancer survivors to successfully cope with a return to work following cancer treatment.
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