A scoping review of return to work decision-making and experiences of breast cancer survivors in Korea

Kate J. Sohn, Sun Young Park, Sue Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Return to work (RTW) is an important component of cancer survivorship for individual rehabilitation and economic development. The focus of prior research on cancer survivor RTW has generally been on Western and general cancer populations. There is a need to examine the existing research on RTW decisions and experiences in Korean breast cancer survivors (BCS). Methods: This scoping review followed the framework of Arksey and O’Malley, which consisted of identifying the research question, discovering and selecting studies, charting data, analyzing results, and incorporating expert consultations. Quality assessments and a thematic map were included. Results: Out of 863 original articles found in the literature search, 8 articles met the inclusion criteria. Majority were published in the past 5 years. The scope of the field, socio-demographic and clinical associations, and factors associated with RTW decision-making and experiences were reported. In the thematic analysis, 4 main categories were derived. Conclusions: Future research needs to be conducted on effective RTW interventions targeting various educational backgrounds, socioeconomic levels, and job types. More institutional and social support would encourage more successful RTW through educational awareness, financial assistance, and workplace accommodations. Future studies should focus on interdisciplinary RTW efforts with multiple stakeholders. Implication for cancer survivors: BCS need programs that include social support, individual coping strategies, reliable RTW information, physical rehabilitation, vocational counseling, workplace allowances, and psychological support. More support should be provided through extending the work law and engaging employers. If they desire to resume working, BCS should be fully supported with RTW specific resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1741-1751
Number of pages11
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology


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