BACKGROUND: Studies found that women with breast cancer struggle with significant physical and mental challenges that affect their participation in daily living, social and work activities. Although women express their need for rehabilitation, in Israel there has been scant research on the nature of these needs. OBJECTIVE: To examine the implications of breast cancer for Israeli women in terms of their quality of life, body function, activities and participation in all facets of life, including work. METHODS: The sample was composed of women diagnosed with breast cancer. The data were collected through: (a) an online electronic survey assessing cancer-related quality of life (QoL), function and disability, fatigue and sensory-motor functions, (n = 120) followed by (b) face-to-face interviews and assessments (n = 20), and a healthy control group (n = 61). RESULTS: Women with breast cancer reported significantly lower QoL compared to the healthy control group. They reported higher levels of disability in areas such as, cognition, mobility, upper extremity, as well as overall difficulties in self-care, doing routine household activities and return to work. Roughly one-third of the women did not return to work. Interestingly, our sample did not perceive a decline in terms of their social support or networks, the women stated that family and social support were major enabling factors. CONCLUSION: The results show that breast cancer has short and long-term functional effects on most facets of these women's life. The women's social support system served as an enabling factor. Many women expressed their frustration at the lack of rehabilitation services for their condition and needs in Israel.
- daily living activities