Our purpose was to investigate the possible mediating role of active coping and passive coping between self-reported health complaints and functional limitations, as assessed by an insurance physician (IP), self-assessed work ability and work status in cancer survivors on long-term sick leave. Validated questionnaires were used for self-reported health complaints, work ability and work status. The functional limitations of the respondents were transformed into scales for mental and physical limitations and limitations in working hours. Using LISREL, we constructed a model with coping in a mediating role. Active coping mediated between fewer self-reported physical limitations, more depressive symptoms, better cognitive functioning and more fatigue on the one hand, and more physical limitations and limitations in working hours on the other hand. Passive coping played no mediating role and was associated with more self-reported depressive symptoms only. More functional limitations were associated with lower self-assessed work ability of cancer survivors, and with not being at work, whereas higher self-assessed work ability was associated with being at work. Regarding the role of active and passive coping strategies in cancer survivors on long-term sick leave, more longitudinal research is needed to confirm causality.