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27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Coping with Work After Cancer – Diagnosis of Health-Related Variables Influencing the Medical and Occupational Rehabilitation (MBO) of Oncological Patients

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Manfred Gaspar - Rehabilitationsklinik Nordfriesland, St. Peter-Ording, Deutschland
  • Berit Heitzmann - Universität Potsdam

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocPO586

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Gaspar et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Although well motivated to return to work, many oncological patients are dominated by the subjective feeling that the working situation may be a threat to their health. The German questionnaire AVEM (“Arbeitsbezogenes Verhaltens- und Erlebnismuster”) offers an objective measure of individual coping patterns in the occupational field. The psychometric value of this questionnaire was tested for the first time on oncological patients.

Methods: 305 oncological patients taking part in in-patient rehabilitation programmes were questioned with the help of the AVEM on their attitudes to work, and on socio-demographic and occupational variables.

Results: Oncological patients show a high incidence of “Risk-Pattern B”, which reflects a strong tendency to resignation, limited mental resistance to emotional stress, a distinctly diminished sense of vitality, an unwillingness to become involved in work-related problems and less emotional detachment with regard to such problems. In comparison with non-clinical samples, the oncological patients’ response patterns were in general significantly more problematical.

Conclusions: The results achieved with the help of the AVEM on how oncological patients adjust to working life demonstrate the necessity for increased emphasis on occupational aspects in rehabilitation programmes for these patients. Since the way in which an individual copes with the demands of work is closely related to his or her sense of well-being, the long-term health of cancer patients could be improved if treatment and after-care focussed not only on their physical and psychological rehabilitation but also on their adjustment to the work situation.