The general characteristics of the 72 patients who accepted to participate are provided in Table 1. The study population consisted of 45.8% women, mean age was 49.8 (9.5) years and the majority of subjects were active at the time of diagnosis, mostly under permanent contracts.
Among the active subjects at diagnosis (N, number=57 (79.2%)), the majority of subjects (75.4%) were working full-time and on fixed day schedules. The average length of service was 15.7 years.
The majority of subjects (71.9%) rated their professional activity prior to diagnosis as ‘completely satisfactory’, with no significant difference between men and women, or between ages. Forty-two percent of the subjects declared that their professional activity involved a high psychological burden and only 26.3% of subjects described a high physical burden. In terms of psychological support from co-workers, 43.9% of subjects declared themselves as ‘well supported’. 57.9% of patients considered they had sufficient freedom of movement in their work (responsibilities, satisfactory decision-making margins).
Only 64.9% of subjects reported a sick leave at diagnosis, no significant difference being observed in terms of age or sex. The average duration of sick leave for the entire study population was 19.9 months.
Almost half of patients (47.4%) had not informed their occupational physician and 56.7% had benefited from a pre-return visit, no difference being observed for sex. There was an absence of adapted workstation layout for 90% of patients. The majority of subjects had resumed their professional activity in the same company as the one prior to diagnosis (65.2%). The majority of subjects had taken up the same type of employment contract (86.7%), and in the same job (83.3%). Ninety percent of patients benefited from no adjustment to their working conditions. Arrangements for working conditions included: ‘ergonomic adaptation of your workstation’, ‘arrangement of your workstation schedules’ and ‘other’ (table 2).
Of those who reported having a current occupation (table S1) 67.7% worked full-time. Return to work conditions were considered sufficiently anticipated for 59.2% of subjects, with no significant difference for age and sex.
The majority of subjects rated the current occupational activity as ‘completely’ satisfactory (62.1%), and 10.3% rated it as ‘not at all’ satisfactory. The analysis shows no significant difference for age and sex. The majority of subjects reported feeling more tired at work than before (‘completely’ for 39.3%, ‘moderately’ for 25%, ‘a little’ for 17.8%, and ‘not at all’ for 17.8%), with no significant difference in age and sex.
The majority of subjects reported feeling that they were working ‘the same as before’ when they discovered their disease (71.4%), and 25.0% reported feeling that they were working ‘less than before ’when they discovered their disease, with no significant difference for age or sex. Of those returning to work, 17.8% reported feeling penalised in their work because of their illness. No significant age and sex differences were observed (table S1).
Psychological impact was significantly greater in men (demonstrated anxiety disorder 73.0 versus 41.4, p=0.001), but no differences were observed for age.
Regarding the depression score, 65.6% of subjects had ‘suspected depressive disorders’ and 28.1% had ‘proven depressive disorders’.
The average score for the overall health and quality of life scale was 65.9/100. No significant differences in these items were found for age and sex. For the assessment of fatigue, the average score was 55.5/100. There was no significant difference for sex, age, overall or sub-scale (table S1).
There were no significant differences between Group 1 (subjects who had not ceased their professional activity) and group 2 (subjects who had not resumed their professional activity) for sex, age, length of service, type of employment contract, social protection scheme, working time and working hours (table 3). The mean duration of absence from work among those who returned to work was 16.1 months (3.1) versus 42.2 months (8.2) for the group 2 (p=0.002).
The‘Job Evaluation Score Prior to Diagnosis’ (which is the sum of the scores for each Job Evaluation Item prior to diagnosis), was not significantly different for the 2 groups studied (p=0.08). In contrast, for the assessment of fatigue, the average score was significantly higher among subjects who did not return to work (p=0.004) (table 3).