Surviving cancer at a young age may increase the risk of becoming unemployed and economically dependent upon others, shows a new study.
"The aim of the study was to see how young cancer survivors are doing economically in adult life," said Maria Winther Gunnes, researcher at the University of Bergen.
‘Surviving cancer at a young age may increase the risk of becoming unemployed because of rough cancer treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy.’
The study published in the journal Cancer shows that young cancer survivors have a 40 per cent higher risk of becoming unemployed than others and more chances of receiving governmental financial assistance while female survivors are more vulnerable than men regarding economic dependency.
For the study, the researcher involved those born between the years 1965 and 1985 and got a cancer diagnosis before the age of 25. She then studied how they performed economically and in working life compared to the others who did not receive a cancer diagnosis.
"As a paediatric oncologist, I am interested in how the young survivors are doing. Maybe one thinks that if somebody survives cancer, they will do well later. Even if that is the case for many, we also see that quite many struggle and are getting too little help," Gunnes added.
According to the study, the reason behind the experience of struggle is because of rough cancer treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy, which may can be devastating for young bodies and brains under development. For young adults, the reason may be that they need a long break from education and work just when they have started and it becomes hard to catch up with peers afterwards.
"We need more follow-up in terms of career planning and work rehabilitation programmes to help the survivors enter the job market. In the study, we saw that the cancer survivors, when holding a job, didn't perform much worse than other workers," Gunnes added.