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Table 1 Summary characteristics of included studies

From: Return to work of breast cancer survivors: a systematic review of intervention studies

Study Participants Number of
subjects enrolled
Description
intervention (s)
Length of follow
up and outcomes
Proportion returning
to work
Maguire, 1983, UK
Controlled trial
Women undergoing modified radical mastectomy and full axillary clearance
Setting: surgical unit
Age: not mentioned
N = 152 women, N = 75 in counselling group and N = 77 in care as usual group
Work status before cancer:
Counselling group N = 42
Care as usual group N = 46
Counselling group:
Counselling content:
- inpatient care: advice on exercises, encouragement to look at scar and discuss feelings, discuss possible external breast prosthesis
- at follow-up: encouragement to return to work and become socially active
Counselling frequency:
- inpatient care: pre- and post- mastectomy
- at follow-up: after discharge, every 2 months, home visits until it was clear patient had adapted well
Counselling was given by a specialist nurse
Care as usual group:
Received usual care provided by surgical unit
Follow up: a few days after surgery, 3, 12 and 18 months.
Outcomes: assessed using a semi-structured interview and physical assessment:
- return to work
- house work
- social adjustment
- persisting problems arm: pain, swelling, disability and range of motion
- response to scar, prosthesis and breast loss
Return to work:
- Counselling group: 76% (32 out of 42 patients) between 12–18 months
- Care as usual group: 54% (25 out of 46 patients) between 12–18 months
For return to work versus not χ2 = 4.59, p < 0.05
Fismen, 2000, Norway
Non-Controlled study
Women who had received surgical treatment, chemotherapy and radiation therapy for breast cancer (stage 1 and 2), in combination with rehabilitation
Setting: surgical unit
Age: 31–66 (mean 49 years)
N = 50 women
Work status before cancer: N = 46
Content:
Training of physical capacity; cognitive group discussions in small groups (2–10 persons)
Examinations of psychological and physical status were performed before rehabilitation, after rehabilitation and after follow-up
Frequency: 3 weeks rehabilitation program, 3 months at home and 1 week follow up at rehabilitation centre.
Follow-up:
- after 3 weeks rehabilitation
- after 3 months at home
- after 1 week follow-up in rehabilitation centre
Outcomes: assessed by questionnaires:
- return to work
- mental state (depression, anxiety, mood states)
- quality of life and pain.
In addition, assessment of
lymph edema and VO2 max
Return to work:
78% (36 out of 46 patients) during the 3 month follow-up
Sachs, 1980,
USA
Non-Controlled study
Women who underwent modified radical mastectomy and full axillary clearance (Mt. Sinai data) and rehabilitation
Setting: surgical unit
Age: not mentioned
N = 107 women
Work status before cancer: not mentioned
Content:
- counselling: emotional support, encouragement to look at scar, discuss feelings, discuss possible external breast prosthesis, encouragement to return to work and become socially active
- exercises
Frequency:
90 minutes a day, 5 days a week until discharge from hospital
- counselling: on alternating days
- exercises: daily
Professionals involved:
A team consisting of a physical therapist, a nurse, a social worker, and a Reach-To-Recovery volunteer for 3 days each week
Counselling:
- mastectomy rehabilitation nurse: visits with patient before and after operation, informs patient and family of programme, lends moral support
- social worker: leads groups sessions in the programme
Exercises:
- demonstrated by physical therapist and performed daily
The physician was a member of the team
Follow up: 90 days after discharge a questionnaire was sent to the participating patients
Outcomes: assessed using questionnaires:
- return to work
- resumption of normal activities
- physical recovery and rehabilitation
- emotional stress
Return to work:
85% of patients. Average duration out of work: 5.9 weeks
Winick, 1977, USA
Non-Controlled study
Women who underwent
*Simple or total mastectomy:
**Modified radical mastectomy: + axillary lymph nodes and part pectoral muscle
***Standard or radical mastectomy: + lymph nodes and underlying pectoral muscles ****Extended radical
mastectomy; + all
axillary lymph nodes, underlying pectoral muscles, and medial
segment chest wall
All women received rehabilitation
Setting: surgical unit
Age: 20–91 (mean 56 years)
N = 863 women
Work status before cancer: N = 317 employed full time
Same Post Mastectomy Rehabilitation Programme as study by Sachs et al. Follow up: 3 months after discharge
Outcomes: assessed using a questionnaire sent to patients:
- return to work
- resumption of normal activities
- physical recovery and rehabilitation
- emotional stress and personal relationship adjustment difficulties
Return to work:
75% of patients (237 out of 317 patients) full time return to work within 3 months:
*: (n = 2),
100%, average weeks to resume: 3
**: (n = 50), 78%, average weeks to resume: 7.1
***: (n = 241), 75%, average weeks to resume: 8.6
****: (n = 24), 63%, average weeks to resume: 9.5
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