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Medicina y Seguridad del Trabajo

versión On-line ISSN 1989-7790versión impresa ISSN 0465-546X


VICENTE PARDO, José Manuel  y  LOPEZ-GUILLEN GARCIA, Araceli. Cancer in the working population. Disability and risk of labor and social exclusion. Med. segur. trab. [online]. 2018, vol.64, n.253, pp.354-378. ISSN 1989-7790.

Cancer occurs as a serious disabling disease and present life-threatening disease. 85,000 new cases of cancer arose in Spain in 2017 in the working population (18 to 65 years). Breast cancer is the third most frequent pathology in processes of long disability exceeding 10 months of sick leave. In general, cancers are processes of an average duration of short-term disability from 280 to 365 days. 10% of permanent disability declarations are for cancer. 90% of cancer processes exceed 6 months of sick leave. More than 50% of patients with cancer will become permanently disabled. 30% of survivors will lose their job or have lost it during the treatment process. In general, cancer tends to a higher incidence that may be due to an advance in its early detection, and due to an increased exposure to risk factors. The higher prevalence, that is, the increased survival rate, is the best indication of therapeutic advances progress in reducing the mortality rate. It is estimated that 53% of patients survive more than five years, but about 55% of patients with cancer do not return to work. Health and paramedical expenses, support and care expenses, loss of personal and family earning capacity lead in many cases to social exclusion. Around 25,000 people with cancer in Spain enter a situation of clear vulnerability. The groups at greatest risk are the self-employed, the workers who over the process become unemployed or are affected by cancer in this situation, low-income workers and women.


It urges to improve the cancer data archiving systems, the implementation of the Disability Map in order to analyse who is ill, what type of cancer it is and with what scars; the improvement of treatments access, the economic and social impact, to know the survivors’ return to work experience and the working population at risk should be a priority for an adequate comprehensive management, not only of economic or care benefits but also focused on improving the occupational health of workers suffering from cancer. A social protection system cannot turn its back on an ever-growing group at higher risk of facing social exclusion, economic vulnerability and job loss. It is necessary to establish a Comprehensive Strategic Protection Plan, which covers health, care, security, work, prevention and social services.

Palabras clave : Cancer; work disability; social exclusion; work return.

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