• Effects of web-based interventions on cancer patients’ symptoms: review of randomized trials

      Fridriksdottir, N.; Gunnarsdottir, S.; Zoëga, S.; Ingadottir, B.; Hafsteinsdottir, E. J. G.; Landspítali-National University Hospital, Eiríksgata 19, 101, Reykjavík, Iceland. nannafri@landspitali.is. 2 University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland. nannafri@landspitali.is. 3 Landspítali-National University Hospital, Eiríksgata 19, 101, Reykjavík, Iceland. 4 University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland. (Springer, 2017-09-18)
      PURPOSE: Symptom management is of high priority in cancer care. Information and communication technology allows interventions to be provided through the internet to enhance the delivery of care. This study aimed to review the effects of web-based interventions on cancer patients' symptoms. METHODS: MEDLINE, PSychINFO, PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane databases were systematically searched. Included were randomized controlled trials (RCTs), pilot RCTs, or quasi-experimental (QE) studies focusing on web-based interventions in adult cancer patients with at least one outcome primary or secondary, in terms of symptoms, treatment side effects, or distress. Data were analyzed study by study. RESULTS: Twenty studies were identified. All web interventions included information, 16 included self-management support, 14 included self-monitoring, 13 included feedback/tailored information, 12 used communication with health-care professionals, and eight used communication with other patients. Overall, 13 studies reported positive symptom outcomes. Psychological distress was reported in eight studies with positive intervention effects in three. Symptoms of anxiety/depression were reported in ten studies with positive intervention effects in five. Somatic symptom severity was reported in ten studies with intervention effects found in six, and symptom distress was reported in six studies with intervention effects found in all. CONCLUSIONS: This review shows the promising potential of web-based interventions for cancer symptom management, although it was limited by considerable heterogeneity in the interventions tested and targeted outcomes. The multidimensional nature of symptoms was partly addressed; only one study was guided by a comprehensive theoretical model of cancer symptom management. It can only be speculated which web elements are important for effective symptom outcomes. Further testing is needed for web-based cancer symptom management.