Ethnic Differences in the Impact of Breast Cancer on Employment Status, Financial Situation, and Quality of Life: A Pilot Study
Prabal De, PhD and Victoria S. Blinder, MD
As a result of improvements in disease detection and treatment, breast cancer now accounts for the largest proportion of cancer survivors in the United States. Despite advances in disease management, breast cancer continues to have both acute and chronic impacts on survivors’ employment, financial circumstances and quality of life (QoL), with personal and societal repercussions. Prior research on employment after breast cancer has primarily focused on non-Latina white populations, and little is known about potential ethnic differences in employment after breast cancer. Employment, financial situation, and QoL have a complex and multidirectional relationship that has been demonstrated in non-Latina white cancer survivors, but the relationship of these three outcomes among ethnic minorities has not been elucidated. We propose to describe the impact of breast cancer on the employment status of African-American, Latina, and non-Latina white women and to assess how this effect may vary between ethnic groups. Using a matched cohort study design, we will prospectively evaluate employment status, QoL and financial situation after treatment for breast cancer in minority and non-Latina white women. The use of peer controls, matched for ethnicity and age and surveyed in a corresponding timeframe, will allow us to separate the impact of breast cancer from changes in employment due to fluctuations in the economy. By identifying and describing ethnic disparities in employment, financial situation, and QoL, we will obtain the tools needed to address these disparities through the development, testing, and implementation of culturally competent and relevant interventions.