AWARENESS AND BEHAVIOR OF ONCOLOGISTS AND SUPPORT MEASURES IN MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS RELATED TO ONGOING EMPLOYMENT OF CANCER PATIENTS IN JAPAN

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Abstract

Background

Support from oncologists and medical institutions are essential for patients to continue working. This study aimed to clarify oncologists' awareness and behavior regarding patients who work during treatment, support in medical institutions, and their association.

Methods

A questionnaire was mailed to all 453 diplomates and faculty of the subspecialty board of medical oncology in the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology and all 1016 surgeons certified by the Japanese Board of Cancer Therapy. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association of awareness and behavior of oncologists with support measures at their institutions.

Results

A total of 668 individuals participated. 98% of respondents wanted their patients to keep working. But only 41.9% of medical institutions for chemotherapy and 28.0% for radiation therapy can arrange the schedule according to patient's work schedule. Over 70% of respondents thought that nurses and medical social workers had to help their patients to continue working. However, Work-related counseling programs by nurses (28.8%) and medical social workers (62.2%) were provided in medical institutions. There was a significant correlation association between medical institutions' measures to support employed cancer patients and oncologists' awareness and behavior, not years of experiences, specialty and hospital size. Conclusions: Oncologists could support working patients by exerting influence on their medical institutions. Conversely, proactive development of support measures by medical institutions could alter the awareness and behavior of oncologists.

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