Open Access Study protocol

Decrease social inequalities return-to-work: development and design of a randomised controlled trial among women with breast cancer

Clémence Vidor12*, Ariane Leroyer1, Véronique Christophe1, Mélanie Seillier13, Jérome Foncel1, Justine Van de Maële12, Jacques Bonneterre4 and Sophie Fantoni5

Author Affiliations

1 University Lille Nord de France–Université de Lille III, Unité de Recherche en sciences Cognitives et Affectives (URECA) EA 1059, BP 60149, F-59653 Villeneuve-d’Ascq Cedex, France

2 SIRIC ONCOLille, F-59000 Lille, France

3 Caisse d’Assurance Retraite et de Santé au Travail (CARSAT), Nord Picardie-59662, Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France

4 Centre Oscar Lambret, 59020 Lille Cedex, France

5 University Lille Nord de France- CRDPD-LEREDS EA 4487, F-59037 Lille, France

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2014, 14:267  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-267

Published: 17 April 2014



Despite the improvement in the care management, women cancer patients who are still in employment find themselves for the most part obliged to stop working while they are having treatment. Their return-to-work probability is impacted by numerous psychosocial factors. The objective is to describe the development and the content of an intervention aimed to facilitate the return to work of female breast cancer patients and in particular the women in the most precarious situations through early active individualised psychosocial support (APAPI).


The intervention proposed is made up of 4 interviews with a psychologist at the hospital, distributed over the year according to the diagnosis and conducted on the same day as a conventional follow-up consultation, then a consultation with a specialist job retention physician. We expect, in the first instance, that this intervention will reduce the social inequalities of the return-to-work rate at 12 months. The EPICES score will enable the population to be broken down according to the level of social precariousness. The other expected results are the reduction of the social inequalities in the quality of the return to work at 18 and 24 months and the disparities between the individual and collective resources of the patients. This intervention is assessed in the context of a controlled and randomised multi-centre study. The patients eligible are women aged between 18 and 55 years with a unilateral breast cancer with local extension exclusively, having received surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy, in employment at the time of the diagnosis and dealt with by one of the 2 investigating centres.


It is essential to assess this type of intervention before envisaging its generalisation. The study set in place will enable us to measure the impact of this intervention aiming to facilitate the return to work of breast cancer patients, in particular for those who suffer from social fragility, compared with the standard care.

Breast cancer; Return to work; Social inequalities; Intervention; Randomised trial; Psychosocial support