Acceptability and Feasibility of a Return-to-Work Intervention for Posttreatment Breast Cancer Survivors: Protocol for a Co-design and Development Study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background The mortality rate from breast cancer has been declining for many years, and the population size of working-age survivors is steadily increasing. However, the recurrent side effects of cancer and its treatment can result in multiple disabilities and disruptions to day-to-day life, including work disruptions. Despite the existing knowledge of best practices regarding return to work (RTW) for breast cancer survivors, only a few interdisciplinary interventions have been developed to address the individualized needs and multiple challenges of breast cancer survivors, health care professionals, and employer and insurer representatives. Thus, it seems appropriate to develop RTW interventions collaboratively by using a co-design approach with these specific stakeholders. Objective This paper presents a protocol for developing and testing an innovative, interdisciplinary pilot intervention based on a co-design approach to better support RTW and job retention after breast cancer treatment. Methods First, a participatory research approach will be used to develop the intervention in a co-design workshop with 12 to 20 participants, including people affected by cancer, employer and insurer representatives, and health care professionals. Next, a pilot intervention will be tested in a primary care setting with 6 to 8 women affected by breast cancer. The acceptability and feasibility of the pilot intervention will be pretested through semistructured interviews with participants, health care professionals, and involved patient partners. The transcribed data will undergo an iterative content analysis. Results The first phase of the project—the co-design workshop—was completed in June 2021. The pilot test of the intervention will begin in spring 2022. The results from the test will be available in late 2022. Conclusions The project will offer novel data regarding the use of the co-design approach for the development of innovative, co-designed interventions. In addition, it will be possible to document the acceptability and feasibility of the pilot intervention with a primary care team. Depending on the results obtained, the intervention could be implemented on a larger scale. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID) DERR1-10.2196/37009


  • Bilodeau, Karine
  • Gouin, Marie-Michelle
  • Lecours, Alexandra
  • Lederer, Valérie
  • Durand, Marie-José
  • Kilpatrick, Kelley
  • Lepage, David
  • Ladouceur-Deslauriers, Lauriane
  • Dorta, Tomas

publication date

  • April 22, 2022