Employment pathways of cancer survivors—analysis from administrative data

  • Joan C. LoEmail author
Original Paper


The incidence of cancer and its survival rate have been increasing worldwide, resulting in a greater number of cancer survivors. Since one’s job often forms a central basis for self-esteem and provides financial security, knowing whether and how cancer can affect the employment of employed cancer survivors are important issues. While the past studies generally used survey data, this study utilizes pre-existing administrative data and employs the difference-in-differences model. We take newly diagnosed cancer patients in 2012, aged from 15 to 60 years and employed upon diagnosis, as the study group (N = 12694) and the propensity-score matching-adjusted non-cancer employed population as the control group. Monthly employment information for 2011–2014 was retrieved for both groups. We define the pre-event period as the months before the diagnosis and the post-event period as the months from the diagnosis and afterwards. A pseudo-date symbolizing the index point for cancer diagnosis is assigned to the control group. The logistic regression results show that the impact of cancer on the employment status of cancer survivors is significantly negative for both genders. However, if the differences in employment status between the study and control groups prior to the incidence of cancer are significant, then some past research that used only post-period observations might have rendered biased estimates. The employment pathways indicate that 88% of female cancer survivors employed upon diagnosis continue to work during the full 12 months after diagnosis. Further analyses on earnings demonstrate the possibility of cancer survivors retaining their job, but at lower pay.


Administrative data Cancer survivors Difference-in-differences model Employment pathways National Health Insurance Taiwan 

JEL Classification

I10 J79 



Helpful comments from Prof. Tzu-Ting Yang are deeply appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study has been approved by IRB for the biomedical science research of Academia Sinica, R.O.C. under approval number AS-IRB02-105306.

Informed consent

Since the study subjects are from the whole population and the results are in statistical formats, patient consent is waived.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of EconomicsAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

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