Loss, adaptation and new directions: The impact of arm morbidity on leisure activities following breast cancer

Roanne Thomas, Thomas F Hack, Elizabeth Quinlan, Sue Tatemichi, Anna Towers, Winkle Kwan, Baukje Miedema, Andrea Tilley, Rita Hamoline, Tricia Morrison


The impact of arm morbidity on leisure and quality of life is an understudied area in cancer survivorship. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively describe the impact of breast cancer-related arm morbidity on leisure participation in Canadian women. A grounded theory approach was used to generate thematic categories and a model. Drawing on participants from a larger cohort study (n=740), 40 women with arm morbidity symptoms were purposively sampled and interviewed. Three themes emerged: a sense of loss, adapting participation, and new directions. Women with arm morbidity may experience an abrupt loss of previously enjoyed leisure activities and engage in a process of adapting to discover new meanings and directions. Comprehensive, person-centred cancer survivorship programs may assist with adaptation to arm morbidity.

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