More than 80 percent of cancer or heart patients surveyed in Japan worked in some form while being hospitalized for treatment, data obtained from the health ministry showed Saturday.
Nearly 82 percent of 1,030 cancer or heart patients surveyed by the ministry said they worked from the hospital, including making job-related reports and preparations to return to their offices, according to the data.
The results of the ministry's first large-scale survey of its kind, which has not been publicly disclosed, suggest it is difficult for many patients to concentrate on treatment.
While the government promotes the need to balance work and treatment such as through telework, some experts have urged that a better environment be created.
"I think the survey is correctly reflecting the reality," said Naomi Sakurai, a director of the Cancer Survivors Recruiting Project, an organization supporting workers receiving cancer treatment.
"Patients may think they've caused trouble to their workplaces and think they must work even in the hospital, but they shouldn't forget that they should prioritize treatment," Sakurai said.
The ministry's survey, covering people aged between 20 and 64 who were hospitalized in the past five years, was carried out between last December and March this year in 25 major hospitals.
It showed 91.1 percent had used smartphones to do their work from places including common spaces at hospitals or their rooms there.