Effects of nonpharmacological interventions on symptom clusters in breast cancer survivors: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Meng Yuan Li, Li Qun Yao, Xian Liang Liu, Jing Yu (Benjamin) Tan, Tao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: To summarize nonpharmacological interventions and assess their effects on symptom clusters and quality of life (QoL) in breast cancer (BC) survivors. 

Methods: Seven English and three Chinese electronic databases and three clinical trial registries were searched from January 2001 to August 2023. A narrative approach was applied to summarize the data. The primary outcome was symptom clusters measured by any patient-reported questionnaires, and the secondary outcomes were QoL and intervention-related adverse events. 

Results: Six published articles, one thesis, and one ongoing trial involving 625 BC survivors were included. The fatigue-sleep disturbance-depression symptom cluster was the most frequently reported symptom cluster among BC survivors. The nonpharmacological interventions were potentially positive on symptom clusters and QoL among the BC survivors. However, some of the included studies exhibited methodological concerns (e.g., inadequate blinding and allocation concealment). The intervention protocols in only two studies were developed following a solid evidence-based approach. Adverse events related to the targeted interventions were reported in six included studies, with none performing a causality analysis. 

Conclusions: The nonpharmacological interventions could be promising strategies for alleviating symptom clusters in BC survivors. Future studies should adopt rigorously designed, randomized controlled trials to generate robust evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100380
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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