"Healthy people are of course not idle": The perception of health and well-being of women with breast cancer

Poster (RES)

Gudrun Palmadottir1

1) University of Akureyri, Iceland

Introduction: Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment generally cause a disruption of occupational life which may call for a change in occupational identity, performance, and routines.

Aim: To explore the role of occupational participation and environmental resources in the perception of health and well-being among women with breast cancer.

Method: Eighteen women were interviewed about their experiences of going through the phases of diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for breast cancer. A thematic analysis was performed.

Results: Analysis revealed seven themes related to occupation and environment. Occupations took on changed meaning and through occupational participation the women were able to move towards a new arena of occupational identity and meaning. Information, emotional support, safety, and stimulating environments were crucial in alleviating distress and facilitate a satisfactory adaptation.

Conclusion: Occupational therapists need to widen their approach when working with women with breast cancer and focus on their needs as occupational beings.

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