Objectives: Evaluate patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy with respect to their epidemiologic and clinical variables as well as performance at work or at home.
Methods: this was a cross-sectional study including 52 women interviewed during breast cancer chemotherapy, stratified in two groups: those who continued to work and do household tasks, and did not continue to work or do household tasks. Patients were from two public hospitals in the State of São Paulo, one in Santo Andre and the other in São Bernardo do Campo. The WPAI - GH (Work Productivity and Activity Impairment) questionnaire was used to evaluate work and household performance of professionals or housewives, respectively.
Results: Mean age of the patients was 55.7 (SD=13.8), most were Caucasian (88.5%), married (55.8%), employed (65.3%) and the majority had to stop working because of treatment (51.0%), at more advanced stage (p<0.05), fatigue and nausea (p<0.05). Mean WPAI - GH was 67.04 (|SD = 5.62) for patients who stopped working and 49.17 (SD = 6.89) for those who continued to work (Mann-Whitney U test: p = 0.04).
Conclusion: Chemotherapy leads to a decrease in performance of a sizable fraction of women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. A more advanced stage of neoplasia was positively associated with withdrawal from these activities probably due to side effects such as fatigue and nausea.