More than 80 percent of cancer or heart patients surveyed in Japan worked in some way while being hospitalized for treatment, according to Ministry of Health data released on Saturday.
Nearly 82 percent of the 1,030 cancer or heart patients surveyed by the ministry said they worked at the hospital, including reports and work-related preparations to return to their offices, according to the data.
The results of the ministry's first large-scale, unpublished research suggest that it is difficult for many patients to focus on treatment.
While the government promotes the need to balance work and treatment, such as through telecommuting, some experts call for a better environment to be created.
"I think the research is rightly reflecting the reality," said Naomi Sakurai, director of the Cancer Survivors Recruitment Project, an organization that supports workers who are being treated for cancer.
"Patients may think they have caused problems in their workplaces and think they need to work even in the hospital, but they should not forget that they should prioritize treatment," Sakurai said.
The ministry's survey, which covers people aged 20-64 hospitalized in the last five years, was conducted between December and March this year in 25 major hospitals.
He showed that 91.1% used smartphones to do their work in places that include common spaces in hospitals or in their rooms.