09/30/2014 12:10 EDT | Updated 11/30/2014 05:59 EST

Cancer survivors' job prospects, earnings assessed by StatsCan

Cancer survivors' job prospects and earnings have been analyzed for a new report by Statistics Canada.

Tuesday's report linked census, cancer registry and vital statistics databases with personal income tax records to evaluate the effects of cancer on employment status and earnings.

As earlier diagnoses, improvements in cancer treatment and better followup care have substantially increased the number of cancer survivors in the last 20 years, economists have become interested in the effects of cancer on the labour market, the agency said.

Overall, the findings suggest that in the long run, cancer is more likely to affect survivors' work status than their earnings.

The researchers weren't able to access data on the type of cancer or its stage. But they grouped the malignancies into those with high, medium and low survival rates.

"We found that these negative effects on employment and annual earnings are larger and longer lasting for individuals diagnosed with cancer with lower survival rates," said Sung-Hee Jeon of the agency's social analysis and modelling division in Ottawa.

On average, cancer survivors earned $5,079, or 12.1 per cent, less one year after diagnosis than their counterparts who were never diagnosed with the disease.

Cancer lowered the probability of working in the first year after diagnosis by three percentage points on average compared with the other group in the sample.