Background: This study aims to understand the factors that support occupational engagement of working mothers who are breast cancer survivors based on their experiences. These factors are vital for occupational therapists and other health professionals in the promotion of their health and well-being.
Methods: Using phenomenology, through in-depth interviews, this study explored experiences of mothers who survived breast cancer and have returned to work. Ten participants from ICanServe Foundation in Cebu, Philippines participated in one-on-one interviews.
Results: Thematic analysis identified three themes: (1) Baggage and uncertainties of life with cancer, (2) Lessons on grit, and (3) Beating the odds through occupational adaptation. Findings suggest that mothers face obstacles both in the home and in the workplace.
Conclusion: Obstacles identified include mother-child role reversals, physical and cognitive changes, stigma and discrimination in the workplace, and fear of death and uncertainty, which indicate the need for support. Findings based on their experiences can help inform collaborative efforts from occupational therapists and professionals across disciplines to support breast cancer survivors such as maternal support groups, informing employment or workplace policies, and community opportunities.
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