Occupational Therapy for Adults With Cancer: Why It Matters

Oncologist. 2016 Mar;21(3):314-9. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2015-0335. Epub 2016 Feb 10.


Adults with cancer may be at risk for limitations in functional status and quality of life (QOL). Occupational therapy is a supportive service with the specific mission to help people functionally engage in life as safely and independently as possible with the primary goal of improving QOL. Unfortunately, for people with cancer, occupational therapy remains underused. The overall purpose of this review is to provide an understanding of what occupational therapy is and its relevance to patients with cancer, highlight the reasons to refer, and, last, provide general advice on how to access services.

Keywords: Activities of daily living; Functional status; Occupational therapy; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Occupational Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Social Participation / psychology