Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the work limitations and attendance rates after employees diagnosed with cancer returned to work from sick leave, and to identify the related factors for the limitations and attendance rates at a single manufacturing company in Japan. Methods: This study retrospectively analyzed 129 men and 4 women, employed in a single manufacturing industry, who returned to work after sick leave due to newly diagnosis of cancer. Limitations on work after the return to work were enforced in the workplace based on an industrial physician's evaluation. All the employees who needed measures for work were examined by the industrial physicians every 1-6 months until the termination of such work limitations. Results: Limitations on work after the return to work were enforced for 79 (59%) employees (36 employees with alteration of work, 31 with prohibition of shift work and 55 with prohibition of overtime work). A higher degree of work limitations was significantly correlated with work-related factors before sick leave (i.e. shift work, production line) as well as disease/treatment-related factors (i.e. chemotherapy, recurrence/metastasis), while the attendance rates after the return to work were not correlated with adverse work-related factors before sick leave. Conclusion: The enforcement of work limitations for employees with cancer was relatively common and was based on both disease/treatment- and work-related factors, and this phenomenon may play an important role in the return to work as well as the successful continuation of work after cancer survivors return to work.
2009 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health