Effectiveness of a Tailored Work-Related Support Intervention for Patients Diagnosed with Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial

A. C. G. N. M. Zaman, K. M. A. J. Tytgat, J. H. G. Klinkenbijl, F. C. den Boer, M. A. Brink, J. C. Brinkhuis, D. J. Bruinvels, L. C. M. Dol, P. van Duijvendijk, P. H. J. Hemmer, B. Lamme, O. J. L. Loosveld, M. M. Mok, T. Rejda, H. Rutten, A. Schoorlemmer, D. J. Sonneveld, L. P. S. Stassen, R. P. Veenstra, A. van de VenE. R. Velzing, M. H. W. Frings-Dresen, A. G. E. M. de Boer

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Purpose The aim of this research was to study the effectiveness on return to work (RTW) of an early tailored work-related support intervention in patients diagnosed with curative gastrointestinal cancer. Methods A multicenter randomized controlled trial was undertaken, in which patients were assigned randomly to the intervention or the control group (usual care). The intervention encompassed three psychosocial work-related support meetings, starting before treatment. Five self-reported questionnaires were sent over twelve months of follow-up. Primary outcome was days until RTW (fulltime or partial) and secondary outcomes included work status, quality of life, work ability, and work limitations. Descriptive analysis, Kaplan–Meier analysis, relative risk ratio and linear mixed models were applied. Results Participants (N = 88) had a mean age of 55 years; 67% were male and the most common cancer type was colon cancer (66%). Of the participants, 42 were randomized to the intervention group. The median time from sick leave until RTW was 233 days (range 187–279 days) for the control group, versus 190 days (range 139–240 days) for the intervention group (log-rank p = 0.37). The RTW rate at twelve months after baseline was 83.3% for the intervention group and 73.5% for the control group. Work limitations did statistically differ between the groups over time (p = 0.01), but quality of life and work ability did not. Conclusion Patients in the intervention group seem to take fewer days to RTW, albeit not to a statistically significant extent. Trial registration Trial NL4920 (NTR5022) (Dutch Trial Register https://www.trialregister.nl).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-338
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of occupational rehabilitation
Issue number2
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Neoplasms
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Rehabilitation research
  • Return to work
  • Vocational rehabilitation

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