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Women’s occupational performance and quality of life during breast cancer treatment
  1. Pamela Ferreira Nascimento1,
  2. Maria Julia Gonçalves Mello2,
  3. Nancy de Barros Correia2,
  4. Nahãmi Cruz Lucena3,
  5. Raquel Costa Albuquerque4,
  6. Raisa Mayara Alves de Matos2 and
  7. Anke Bergmann5
  1. 1Master of Science in Palliative Care, Instituto de Medicina Integral Professor Fernando Figueira - IMIP, Recife, Brazil
  2. 2Post Graduation Department, Instituto de Medicina Integral Professor Fernando Figueira - IMIP, Recife, Brazil
  3. 3Department of Oncology, Instituto de Medicina Integral Professor Fernando Figueira, Recife, Brazil
  4. 4Department of Occupational Therapy, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
  5. 5Clinical Epidemiology, Instituto Nacional do Câncer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Dr Maria Julia Gonçalves Mello, Post Graduation Department, Instituto de Medicina Integral Professor Fernando Figueira - IMIP, Recife 50070550, Brazil; mjuliagmello{at}


Objectives To analyse the association between occupational performance and women’s health-related quality of life (HRQoL) during breast cancer treatment.

Methods An analytical cross-sectional study was conducted using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire and its specific breast cancer-specific module (BR-23). The association between occupational performance scores and the HRQoL domains was evaluated using multiple linear regression analysis.

Results The sample included 97 women. Overall, occupational performance was poor and the women’s dissatisfaction with their performance resulted in a decrease in HRQoL. Following adjustment, satisfaction was associated with HRQoL in the global health status, functional, role, emotional and social functioning domains of the functional scale. In BR-23, a statistically significant association was found between satisfaction and HRQoL in the functional scale and in the body image domain.

Conclusions Women’s occupational performance was impaired during breast cancer treatment, with limitations and/or restrictions in activities related to self-care, productivity and leisure that were ultimately associated with poorer HRQoL. During cancer treatment, rehabilitation strategies should focus on restoring occupational performance to levels as close as possible to that present prior to the beginning of the disease process, enabling the woman to preserve her occupational life, consequently resulting in an improvement in HRQoL.

  • breast cancer
  • work performance
  • health-related quality of life
  • rehabilitation
  • occupational therapy

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  • Contributors All authors have made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; final approval of the version to be published and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval IMIP’s internal review board approved the study protocol under reference CAAE 43815115.9.0000.5201.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.