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Joblessness a Side Effect of Breast Cancer Chemo

Survey found over one-third who had the drug therapy were unemployed four years later

continued...

"In some cases, the marginal benefit of chemotherapy beyond all the other wonderful treatments we have is relatively small," she said. "And it may be that when all potential downsides are considered -- including potential long-term effects on employment -- that some women will decide that this benefit doesn't outweigh the risks."

The study findings point to an important issue, agreed Susan Brown, managing director of health and science education for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an advocacy organization. "Quality of life after breast cancer treatment is of key importance," she said.

Currently, "we are not aware that employment implications are something that are generally considered at the time of treatment," Brown said.

Tools such as tumor profiling tests that indicate recurrence risk might help patients and their doctors make informed treatment decisions, she added.

"We encourage all women and men facing breast cancer to have a discussion with their health care provider, and discuss any treatment-related concerns they may have," Brown said.

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