IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 17 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/jomh.2021.012
Open Access Original Research
Fears of COVID-19 and cancer recurrence related to work sustainability among male cancer survivors
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1 Center of Health Service, Hunan Cancer Hospital, Changsha, P. R. China
2 Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, P. R. China
3 School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, P. R. China
4 Department of Surgery, Hunan Cancer Hospital, Changsha, P. R. China
5 Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, USA
*Correspondence: (Xin-Qing Zhang)
J. Mens. Health 2021, 17(2), 49–54;
Submitted: 27 November 2020 | Accepted: 5 January 2021 | Published: 8 April 2021
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Purpose: Male cancer survivors represent an important at-risk population for COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic requires a global response for this most vulnerable population. This study purpose was to explore whether fear of COVID-19 and fear of cancer recurrence are related to the likelihood of remaining at work following treatment in male cancer survivors.

Survivors and methods: A cross-sectional survey was used. Data were collected in China in May to June 2020. The Fear of COVID-19 Scale, Fear of Cancer Recurrence (FCR) Inventory-Short Form and work sustainability subscale of the Readiness for Return to Work Scale were completed by male cancer survivors.

Results: A total of 121 employed male cancer survivors participated in this study. Fear of COVID-19 and fear of cancer recurrence were both negatively correlated with work sustainability (β = -0.11, and β = -0.19, respectively). Significant interaction effects between fear of COVID-19 and fear of cancer recurrence were observed (β = 0.46, P < 0.01). Advanced disease stage, undergoing radiation therapy and having recently completed cancer treatment were all factors related to lower work sustainability scores (β = -0.28, β = -0.15, and β = -0.17, respectively). The overall path model yielded a good fit: χ2/df = 1.12 (P = 0.24), RMSEA = 0.07, TLI = 0.98, CFI = 0.99, IFI = 0.92, and NFI = 0.96.

Conclusion: Fear of COVID-19 is a mediator between fear of cancer recurrence and work sustainability among Chinese male cancer survivors. The findings also indicated that male cancer survivors with higher FCR levels reported less confidence in their ability to remain at work. This information can assist in the development of new interventions and educational programs for cancer survivors, healthcare providers and employers, to improve employees’ ability to remain at work.

Fear of COVID-19
Fear of cancer recurrence
Work retention
Male cancer survivors
Fig. 1.
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