Many survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma (HLSs) who were working at the time of their diagnosis have remained in the work force over time, according to study findings reported in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

This study was based on a questionnaire sent to HLSs identified in the Norwegian Cancer Registry who were alive by the end of 2016 and who had received treatment from 1997 to 2006. Participants had been 8 to 49 years old at the time of diagnosis. The questionnaire involved issues related to work and health. The study investigators used questionnaire results to analyze work ability and related factors, as well as late adverse effects (LAEs).

There were 518 HLSs who had been invited to participate, of whom 297 (58%) completed outcome measures in the questionnaire pertaining to work. These respondents had a mean age at the time of the survey of 45.9 years (SD, 9.6). Their mean age at diagnosis was 29.2 years (SD, 9.5), and they had a mean follow-up time since diagnosis of 16.7 years (SD, 3.0). At the time of diagnosis, 70% of respondents reported that they had been working.

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At the time of the survey, 71% of the responding HLSs were involved in paid work, while 19% of respondents were receiving a disability pension, 6% of respondents were considered unemployed, 2% were retired, and 2% had a work status of “other.” A total of 3% of respondents had not had any paid work following diagnosis.

The level of work ability was considered high in 57% of respondents at the time of survey, with 43% considered to have low/moderate work ability. The presence of more LAEs showed an association with having more work-related problems.

The researchers also examined factors related to having low/moderate work ability. Factors such as B-symptoms and treatment modalities did not appear associated with low/moderate work ability, but several other associations were found. In a multivariable analysis, the researchers identified significant associations between low/moderate work ability and older age at follow-up, having 3 or more LAEs, having a low household income, having a distressed personality type, increased total fatigue, and obesity.

“Although work ability frequently was reduced since diagnosis, 71% of HLSs held paid work close to 17 years after diagnosis,” the study investigators concluded in their report. They also indicated that factors associated with low/moderate work ability should be assessed repeatedly over time for HLSs.


Dahl AA, Smeland KB, Eikeland S, et al. Work ability and work status changes in long-term Hodgkin lymphoma survivors with focus on late adverse effects. J Cancer Surviv. Published online August 1, 2023. doi:10.1007/s11764-023-01432-y