Cross-sectional association between working and depression prevalence in cancer survivors: a literature review

  • Ota Atsuhiko
    Department of Public Health, Fujita Health University School of Medicine
  • Kawada Kenji
    Department of Medical Oncology, Fujita Health University School of Medicine
  • Tsutsumi Akizumi
    Department of Public Health, Kitasato University School of Medicine
  • Yatsuya Hiroshi
    Department of Public Health, Fujita Health University School of Medicine

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<p>Objective: To examine the hypotheses that the depression prevalence would be lower in working cancer survivors compared to non-working cancer survivors and that the depression prevalence of working cancer survivors could be as low as that of the cancer-free general population. Methods: We used the PubMed database to search for relevant literature. Out of 299 matches to the used terms, 17 cross-sectional, quantitative studies that compared depression statuses of working cancer survivors with non-working cancer survivors or cancer-free general samples were considered. Results: In some studies, survivors of breast cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and hepatocellular carcinoma indicated a significantly lower depression prevalence compared to non-working survivors with the same cancer types. On the other hand, some studies did not demonstrate a significant difference in the association between depression prevalence and working status among breast cancer and head and neck cancer survivors. Working survivors of breast cancer and malignant brain tumor demonstrated significantly worse scores on the depression subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D) compared to the cancer-free general population. However, the depression prevalence was not compared. Conclusions: The existing literature did not consistently support our hypotheses. Working does not function as an absolute prevention method for depression in cancer survivors. Preventive measures against depression are necessary even after cancer survivors return to work. Further research is necessary to determine whether working is effective for preventing depression in cancer survivors.</p>


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