Danit LangerHebrew university, Israel
Title: A broad perspective on breast cancer: implications and rehabilitation throughout the recovery process
A cross-sectional study of 120 women with Breast Cancer (BC) was conducted. Women with BC reported significantly lower quality of life compared to a 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. The results indicated that breast cancer has short and long-term functional effects on most facets of these women’s life. Many women expressed their frustration at the lack of rehabilitation services for their condition and needs in Israel. These findings led us to assess the feasibility of using a self-management occupation-based program to treat 13 women with BC in both the adjuvant and post-adjuvant phases. In acute BC patients, using a self-management program was not feasible. However, this primary experience led to a better understanding of the individual needs of women in this very challenging stage. In particular, the participants reported that symptom management and functional ability maintenance strategies were valuable in the acute phase. Once the women finished the adjuvant therapy, the adapted self-management program was feasible in an individual setting.
The findings highlighted the need for occupational therapy interventions from the diagnosis of BC throughout the treatment and recovery process. Following both of the studies a new Occupational service for women with BC was opened in our hospital. We will share our experience with treating BC patients in the acute and survivorship phase.
Danit Langer is an occupational therapist since 1994. She has completed her PhD in 2017 from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem Israel. She is a senior lecturer and head of physical and Health science studies in the school of Occupational therapy in the Hebrew university of Jerusalem. She teaches a master level course intitled "Occupational Therapy rehabilitation for women coping with Breast Cancer". She does clinical work and research in Sharee Zedek Medical Center, were along with here collogues they have developed specialized rehabilitation services for women with BC.