Introduction The objective was to develop a tailored intervention for work- related problems to support gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer patients and to evaluate its cost-effectiveness compared with the usual care provided.
Methods We designed a multicentre randomised controlled trial with a follow-up time of twelve months. Included participants will be aged 18–63 years, diagnosed with a curative primary GI cancer and employed at time of diagnosis. The participants will be randomised to the intervention or to usual care.
The intervention group will receive tailored work-related support consisting of three face-to-face meetings. Based on the severity of their work-related problems, the intervention group will be divided into groups receiving three types of support (A, B or C). A different supportive healthcare professional will be available for each group: an oncological nurse (A), an oncological occupational physician (B) and a multidisciplinary team (C) that includes an oncological nurse, oncological occupational physician and treating oncologist/physician.
Result The work-related support intervention including vocational counselling and discussion of legal issues and disease-related and treatment-related factors that may affect work. Primary outcome measure is return to work (RTW), defined as the time to a partial or full RTW. Secondary outcomes are work ability, work limitations, quality of life, and direct and indirect costs. Outcomes are assessed with patient questionnaires at baseline and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months follow up.
Discussion The hypothesis is that tailored work-related support for GI cancer patients is more effective than usual care on RTW. The intervention is innovative in that it combines oncological and occupational care in a clinical setting, early in the cancer treatment process.
This study will contribute as a foundation for optimising future tailored work- related interventions in cancer care with the intention to implement the intervention if it has been shown effective.
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