Background: Being diagnosed with cancer has major impacts on a patient’s life. This study was conducted to explore how specific daily activities of patients change as a result of cancer diagnosis or its treatment and how these patients feel about such changes.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. Cancer patients referred to our clinics and by completing a questionnaire, they reported their daily activities and how they changed after diagnosis. A total of 201 patients in Canada and 167 patients in Iran completed the questionnaire. The research setting was the outpatient cancer clinics of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Canada (February to April 2008) and Imam Reza Hospital and Ghaem Hospital in Mashhad, Iran (March to August 2008).
Results: More than 40 percent of the patients reported changes after the diagnosis in at least 8 out of 22 daily activities listed in the questionnaire. While a negative perception towards the changes was more common, some patients also perceived some changes as positive. More than half of the participants (56.9%) who were employed at the time of diagnosis experienced changes in the amount or type of their paid work after being diagnosed with cancer.
Conclusion: The impact of a cancer diagnosis and treatment on a patient’s daily activities is drastic. There is a need to provide support and interventions to help patients maintain daily activities they need and/or like. Further studies are needed to better understand the nature of such interventions.
Activities of daily living
Early detection of cancer
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