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Objectives Over two million people in the UK are living with and beyond cancer. A third report diminished quality of life. Design A review of published systematic reviews to identify effective non-pharmacological interventions to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors. Data sources Databases searched until May 2017 included PubMed, Cochrane Central, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Science, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and PsycINFO. Study selection Published systematic reviews of randomised trials of non-pharmacological interventions for people living with and beyond cancer were included; included reviews targeted patients aged over 18. All participants had already received a cancer diagnosis. Interventions located in any healthcare setting, home or online were included. Reviews of alternative therapies or those non-English reports were excluded. Two researchers independently assessed titles, abstracts and the full text of papers, and independently extracted the data. Outcomes The primary outcome of interest was any measure of global (overall) quality of life. Analytical methods Quality assessment assessing methdological quality of systematic reviews (AMSTAR) and narrative synthesis, evaluating effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions and their components. Results Of 14 430 unique titles, 21 were included in the review of reviews. There was little overlap in the primary papers across these reviews. Thirteen reviews covered mixed tumour groups, seven focused on breast cancer and one focused on prostate cancer. Face-to-face interventions were often combined with online, telephone and paper-based reading materials. Interventions included physical, psychological or behavioural, multidimensional rehabilitation and online approaches. Yoga specifically, physical exercise more generally, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programmes showed benefit in terms of quality of life. Conclusions Exercise-based interventions were effective in the short (less than 3-8 months) and long term. CBT and MBSR also showed benefits, especially in the short term. The evidence for multidisciplinary, online and educational interventions was equivocal.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/bmjopen-2017-015860

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMJ Open

Publication Date

01/11/2017

Volume

7