Resuming Full-Time Employment is a Long Process for Patients Following Low-Grade Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Less than half of patients diagnosed with low-grade brain tumors are full-time employed even  after a year of diagnosis, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

In this study, researchers assessed data 381 patients aged 18-60 with first onset of low-grade glioma in the years 2005-15, and a control group of 1,900 people. All data were procured from the Swedish National Quality Registry for Brain Tumors, Swedish Social Insurance Agency, Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, and Statistics Sweden.

According to the results, 52% of the patient group studied were working on some scale, but only 28% were in full-time remote jobs and employment , a year after their diagnosis. After a further year, researchers observed 63% of the patients were in work and 45% were working full-time. The researchers were able to show that factors associated with a lower rate of return to work were advanced age, low functional level, other morbidity, previous sick leave irrespective of cause, radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Undergoing surgery involving tumor removal was, on the other hand, associated with a greater likelihood of return to work.

“Brain surgery as such doesn’t seem to be an obstacle. On the other hand, resuming work — especially a full-time job — generally takes a long time. Our interpretation is that, for many people, rehabilitation is a relatively long drawn-out process,” says Isabelle Rydén, lead author and doctoral student in clinical neuroscience at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg via a press release.

“Access to rehabilitation for this group of patients is fairly limited. The explanation given is that the patients have a malignant disease, but we can see that many of them survive for long periods. And we know that work is an important part of normal, healthy life,” Asgeir Jakola, associate professor of neurosurgery at Sahlgrenska Academy, who has been heading the research.

“We’re going to carry on studying these patients. Future studies will focus on cognitive, affective and life-quality factors, and on identifying, and describing more clearly, this patient group’s problems and needs of assistance.”