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Young adults may need help returning to work after BMT

3 years after blood or marrow transplant, 60% of young adults are working

Number of Participants1,365
Research GoalImprove Quality of Life
Young adults who’ve had allogeneic blood and marrow transplant (BMT) are less likely to be employed than their peers. 

That’s according to a study of more than 1,300 people, aged 18 to 39, who got BMT for leukemia, lymphoma and other serious illnesses. 

Researchers found that most people, but not all, returned to work within 3 years after transplant: 
  • 50% worked full-time 
  • 10% worked part-time 
  • 20% were unemployed 
  • 20% were medically disabled 

People were more likely to be unemployed 1 year after transplant if they: 
  • were women, 
  • were too sick to work before transplant, 
  • had acute graft-versus-host disease (a serious complication of transplant), 
  • or their cancer or disease came back. 

People were more likely to be working 1 year after transplant if they: 
  • had a graduate degree, such as a master’s degree or doctorate, 
  • or got a standard intensity preparative regimen before transplant called myeloablative conditioning without total body irradiation

It’s not clear why 20% of young adults were unemployed after 3 years. Possibly, they were still sick from cancer or side effects of transplant. 

If health problems are keeping you from returning to work, ask your doctor about physical or occupational therapy. Also, a social worker may help you find job training and other useful programs. 

Keep in mind 

This research was only about allogeneic BMT, or cells donated by another person. People may have different results if they had autologous BMT, with their own cells.