How do social security schemes and labor market policies support the return-to-work of cancer survivors? A review article

R. Kiasuwa Mbengi, M. Tiraboschi, C. de Brouwer, C. Bouland


About 40% of new cancer diagnoses are detected among working age individuals. Cancer diagnosis and treatment have high impact on the work ability of workers and represent a real challenge for the healthcare and social security systems but also for employers and the labour market. This review aims at investigating the legal frameworks set up in EU Member States that support the retention and integration of workers with disability. Furthermore, we look at these initiatives or measures to see whether they fit the specific needs of workers with cancer.


We searched the PubMed database combining 4 key words: cancer, labour market, labour law and disability insurance or disability benefits. A total of 1.185 articles were found of which 10 were used for this review. In addition, grey literature, reports from the European Commission, the OECD and the WHO were searched and included in the material used for this review.


Few peer reviewed articles discuss the impact of labor market law on the (re)integration of cancer survivors. Most measures and initiatives support workers with chronic diseases but present important limits when considering workers with cancer. Collaboration and coordination among health providers, social workers and employment decision makers is the mostly required and effective.


More research efforts should be made to systematically assess the impact of labor market and employment measures and initiatives on the (re)integration of workers with chronic diseases, with specific attention for workers with cancer. Legal frameworks need to be rethought for a better balance between productivity and equity, inclusion and social justice.

Interview of Régine Kiasuwa Mbengi about the article