Work-related experiences and unmet needs of patients with a malignant glioma and relevant professionals: the BrainWork study.



Many patients with a malignant (i.e., grade II-IV) glioma are of working age, yet they are rarely included in "cancer and work" studies. Here, we explored (1) the work-related experiences and unmet needs of patients with a malignant glioma and (2) the experiences and needs of relevant healthcare and occupational (health) professionals ("professionals") in providing work-related support to this patient group.


Individual semi-structured interviews were held with patients with a malignant glioma who were of working age and had an employment contract at diagnosis, and relevant professionals. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.


Patients (n = 22) were on average 46 ± 13 years of age (64% male) and diagnosed with a grade II (n = 12), III (n = 4), or IV glioma (n = 6). Professionals (n = 16) had on average 15 ± 9 years of relevant work experience with the patient group. Four themes emerged from the data: (1) having a malignant glioma: experienced consequences on work ability, (2) communicating about the consequences of a malignant glioma at work, (3) distilling the right approach: generic or tailored work-related support, and (4) accessibility of work-related support.


Patients with a malignant glioma would benefit from tailored and proactive outreach about work-related issues bv relevant professionals.


Glioma-specific consequences on patients' work ability necessitate better communication between, and tailored guidance for, patients, relevant professionals, and the workplace. Suggestions for improvement, e.g., the periodic use of comprehensive neuropsychological assessments, are provided in the article.

More about this publication

Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice
  • Publication date 02-10-2023

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