Study Finds IPAR Beyond Cancer Program Positively Supports Breast Cancer Survivors

A visual abstract of the IPAR Beyond Cancer program

March 2023

The findings of a feasibility study into IPAR’s Beyond Cancer Rehabilitation Program, which supports breast cancer survivors return to health, wellness and work, have been published in Current Oncology.

This is the culmination of years of work from our research and industry partners – Cancer Council NSW, Monash University, Curtin University, ACU, Swiss Re and AIA – along with our rehabilitation consultants and cancer survivor clients.

An evidence-based, multimodal rehabilitation program, Beyond Cancer was designed to support the growing number of women who are returning to work following breast cancer treatment. It aims to reduce the impact of symptoms, enhance wellness and help survivors to successfully resume working.

Specifically tailored to each person’s unique needs, the program includes:

  • An assessment to identify current life challenges
  • Education in symptom management
  • Health management training such as managing stress, increasing resilience and managing pain
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Return to work planning
  • Engagement with the workplace as required

The feasibility study, funded by a grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, focused on implementation, acceptability and preliminary indications of efficacy. Primary outcome measures included work status, work capacity and perceived support at work, with perspectives sought from the breast cancer survivor, employer and occupational rehabilitation provider.

Results showed the intervention was acceptable, demonstrated strong participant engagement and high satisfaction. It also showed preliminary evidence of improvements in work capacity and psychosocial factors, with the most significant improvements in work expectations, physical fatigue and pain management.

Thank you to everyone involved in this important work. We are very excited by the potential of this program to support breast cancer survivors, and people of working age with cancer more broadly.

As reported by one client who participated in the program:

“Honestly it has been a godsend. I would highly recommend this program to anyone going through cancer. If it wasn’t included in the insurance scheme, I wouldn’t have been looking at returning to work anywhere near as soon as what I have been now, even though I wanted to.”