Background: The improvements in cancer control led to an increase in the number of cancer survivors, notably, in
the working age population (16–64 years). There is a strong need to assess and understand their reintegration on
the labour market, which underlines and ensures their social integration and quality of life. The objectives of the
EMPCAN study is therefore to measure the scale of return-to-work after cancer and to identify the determining
factors, allowing for the implementation of an adequate socio-professional support.
Methods: We requested data from the Belgian Cancer Registry and the Crossroad Bank for Social Security. We
included all socially insured Belgian workers diagnosed between 2004 and 2011 with colorectal, breast, head &
neck, prostate, testis, lung and corpus uteri cancer. The end of (administrative) follow-up was 31st December 2012.
We include demographic, health-related and work-related factors in the analysis and observed how these factors
interplay to determine the working status. After having solved legal, ethical and technical issues for the coupling,
we will perform survival analysis with competing risks using the Fine and Gray model; we will also perform a
multistate model using transitions probabilities; and finally, a group-based modeling for longitudinal data using the
‘proc traj’ package in SAS.
Discussion: The results of the EMPCAN study will allow the provision of an evidence-based support to professional
reintegration policies. It will also bring some key features for the prediction of the cancer-related social security
needs. Besides the raise of awareness among health professionals and policy makers, this study could lead to a
better planning and organization of vocational rehabilitation programs.