Work After Breast Cancer

Picture of Christine Ekenga, PhD

Christine Ekenga, PhD

Washington University in St. Louis

Work after breast cancer: a mixed-methods study of African American survivors

Christine Ekenga, a faculty member at Washington University at St. Louis, looked at the employment experiences of women with early-stage breast cancer. She followed women with and without early-stage cancer for two years, comparing their employment experiences. At the end of the two years, patients who were African American, fatigued, and uninsured or publicly insured were most likely to be out of work.


Ekenga CC, Wang X, Pérez M, Schootman M, and Jeffe DB, 2020. A Prospective Study of Weight Gain in Women Diagnosed with Early-Stage Invasive Breast Cancer, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, and Women Without Breast Cancer. Journal of Women’s Health, 29(4), pp.524-533.

Ekenga CC, Kwon E, Kim B, and Park S, 2020. Long-Term Employment Outcomes among Female Cancer Survivors. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(8), p.2751.

Ekenga CC, Yeung C, Oka M. Cancer risk from air toxics in relation to neighborhood isolation and sociodemographic characteristics: A spatial analysis of the St. Louis metropolitan area, USA. Environmental Research. 2019 Dec;179(Pt B):108844.

Ekenga CC, Perez M, Margenthaler J, Jeffe D. Early-stage breast cancer and employment participation after two years of follow-up: a comparison with age-matched controls. Cancer. 2018 May 1;124(9):2026-2035.


Ekenga CC, Perez M, Jeffe D. Return to work after breast cancer treatment in African-American patients. NIOSH 2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health, Bethesda, MD. 2018

Ekenga CC, Perez M, Jeffe D. Employment and work experiences after breast cancer treatment. Eleventh American Association for Cancer Research Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, New Orleans, LA. 2018

Ekenga CC, Perez M, Margenthaler J, Jeffe D. Employment participation after early-stage breast cancer: patterns and determinants. Tenth American Association for Cancer Research Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, Atlanta, GA. 2017


March 2018. Work after Breast Cancer. Radio interview with the Joe Madison “Black Eagle” morning show on Sirius XM.

February 2018. US News & World Report:” Race, Insurance Key to Employment after Breast Cancer” at

February 2018. St. Louis American: “Race, insurance status linked to job loss after breast cancer” at