Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Julie D Bass, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Cancer and treatments for cancer can have negative consequences on one’s ability to participate in life. Side effects of treatment, including pain, cognitive changes, and fatigue can last months to years after treatment. Community based support and services are emerging to fill a gap in care, specifically related to the psychosocial needs of the survivor. The purpose of this project was to provide information to Gilda’s Club Twin Cities (GCTC), a community based cancer support center, on the participation levels and quality of life (QOL) of their new members, with the secondary goal of collecting data on fatigue and cognitive issues. The study employed a cross sectional descriptive approach with self-report tools to examine the cancer population receiving services at a community based center. Standard, quantitative measures were used to describe participation in life activities, QOL, fatigue and cognition. Overall activity levels decreased 27% following a cancer diagnosis, with the subscale of high physical demand affected most. Participation in new activities was reported by 56%, with most of those activities falling into the instrumental category (doctor visits, resting). Social activities were identified as most important. QOL and fatigue mean scores were lower than the normative data for the general population and the cancer population in the United States. Opportunity and need exist in community based centers to provide effective programming related to participation levels, including fatigue management, role resumption, and the necessary performance skills to achieve personal participation goals. Occupational therapists should take the lead in supporting survivors in community based settings to achieve improved health, well being, and participation.