I.-S. Szilagy and E. Nagele contributed equally to this work.
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Planning a career and choosing a profession is an important step in the future development to adolescence. Although cancer and the consequences of the disease have a high impact on the bio-psychosocial level, less is known concerning the profession prevalence of childhood cancer survivors. Therefore, major influencing factors on career choice and current occupations of former Austrian childhood cancer patients have been analysed, especially focusing on health-related occupations.
A survey battery including possible influencing factors on career choice was sent by mail. Physical and daily life impairment was evaluated by the quality of life survey (SF-12) and an adapted version of the Pain Disability Index (PDI). In total, 102 survivors with a mean age of 32.8 (SD 4.9) years (50% women) participated.
A significantly high proportion of survivors was found currently holding health-related occupations, also when compared to the general Austrian population. Disease and treatment, female gender, social and family circumstances have substantial impact on the choice of a health-related career. Mean SF-12 scores were comparable to a healthy reference group, although scores for mental health were marginally lower in our group, and scores for physical health were slightly higher. The PDI scores were very low, which indicates no major influences in everyday activities.
There was found a significant trend that adult survivors of childhood cancer are more likely to work in health-related professions than the average population. Occupational planning should consequently be supported and mental health might be addressed during regular follow-up visits.