Education, employment and marriage in long-term survivors of teenage and young adult cancer compared with healthy controls.

Mader, Luzius; Vetsch, Janine; Christen, Salome; Baenziger, Julia; Roser, Katharina; Dehler, Silvia; Michel, Gisela (2017). Education, employment and marriage in long-term survivors of teenage and young adult cancer compared with healthy controls. Swiss medical weekly, 147, w14419. EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag 10.4414/smw.2017.14419

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Teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer patients are faced with the diagnosis during a challenging period of psychosocial development that may affect social outcomes in the long term. Therefore, we aimed to: (1) determine differences in social outcomes between long-term TYA cancer survivors and healthy controls and (2) identify factors associated with adverse social outcomes.


We sent a questionnaire to TYA cancer survivors (aged 16-25 years at diagnosis, 5 years after diagnosis) registered in the Cancer Registry Zurich and Zug. Information on controls was obtained from the Swiss Health Survey 2012. We assessed educational achievement, employment status, marital status and life partnership (survivors only), and compared these outcomes between survivors and controls. We used logistic regression to identify sociodemographic and cancer-related factors associated with social outcomes.


We included 160 TYA cancer survivors and 999 controls. Educational achievement of survivors differed significantly from controls (p = 0.012): more survivors than controls reported upper secondary education (33 vs 27%) and fewer survivors reported university education (12 vs 21%). No significant differences were found for employment (p = 0.515) and marital status (p = 0.357). The majority of survivors (91%) and controls (90%) were employed, and 37% of survivors were married, compared with 41% of controls. There were no cancer-related factors associated with having only basic education. Unemployment was associated with younger age at diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] 5.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3-30.8) and self-reported late effects (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.3-19.5). Survivors of younger age at diagnosis were more likely not to be married (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.3-5.7) and not to have a life partner (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.0-5.2).


Our findings indicate that TYA cancer survivors completed applied higher education rather than a university education. Future studies including larger samples of TYA cancer survivors are needed to validate our findings and to explore the reasons for and satisfaction with the observed educational pathway.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Michel, Gisela


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

04 Apr 2017 13:09

Last Modified:

15 Sep 2021 08:09

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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