e-Poster Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2020

Associations of cancer-related cognitive impairment with work and occupational functioning when controlling for distress and fatigue (#320)

Heather J Green 1 , Chisato Snell 1
  1. Griffith University, Southport, Qld, Australia

Aims: Recognition of cancer-related cognitive, psychological, and physical effects on employment and occupational functioning (OF, i.e., engaging in purposeful activities including but not limited to paid employment) has grown [1]. However, since cognitive, psychological, and physical effects often co-occur, it is necessary to disentangle how each area relates to functional impacts. OF has also often been studied separately to paid employment in this population. This study therefore examined the extent to which subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) related to both employment and broader OF in cancer survivors when controlling for distress and fatigue.

Methods: Participants were Australian residents (91 cancer survivors and 72 people with no cancer history) who completed online self-report measures of SCI, fatigue, distress, OF, and time spent in employment and other employment-related activities in the past week.

Results: Higher SCI, distress, and fatigue significantly related to poorer OF in both groups. Furthermore, SCI was a significant independent predictor of function, accounting for 5.48% of the variation in OF for work/school and 5.48% for home, after controlling for distress and fatigue in cancer survivors. However, SCI was not significantly associated with number of hours spent in occupational activities in this group of cancer survivors.

Conclusions: Although SCI, distress, and fatigue correlated with each other, SCI was independently associated with variance in OF when controlling for distress and fatigue in cancer survivors. This is consistent with previous findings and suggests that understanding and addressing SCI specifically, in addition to potential related symptoms such as distress and fatigue, might be beneficial for OF in at least some cancer survivors with this problem.

  1. 1. Green, H. J., Mihuta, M. E., Ownsworth, T., Dhillon, H. M., Tefay, M., Sanmugarajah, J., Tuffaha, H. W., Ng, S.-K., & Shum, D. H. K. (2019). Adaptations to cognitive problems reported by breast cancer survivors seeking cognitive rehabilitation: A qualitative study. Psycho‐Oncology, 28(10), 2042-2048. doi:10.1002/pon.5189