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The physical and practical problems experienced by cancer survivors: a rapid review and synthesis of the literature

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • S. G. Brearley
  • Z. Stamataki
  • J. Addington-Hall
  • C. Foster
  • L. Hodges
  • N. Jarrett
  • A. Richardson
  • I. Scott
  • M. Sharpe
  • D. Stark
  • C. Siller
  • L. Ziegler
  • Z. Amir
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)204-212
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose: A rapid and comprehensive review to identify what is known and not known about the physical and practical problems faced by adult cancer survivors.

Methods: A systematic literature review process was used. This focused on published reviews to enable a fast but rigorous identification of both the gaps and well-researched areas within survivorship.

Results: The search identified 5121 reviews, of which 42 were screened and 9 met the quality and inclusion criteria. The majority of papers focused on physical well being (n = 6) with the remaining papers focusing on practical well being (employment and finance). The quality of the reviews varied (ranging from weak to good). Gaps identified include sexual function, lower-limb lymphoedema, peripheral neuropathy, bladder and GI problems, hormonal sequelae, older cancer survivors, work impact of cancer and context-specific unmet supportive care needs. The review found a lack of standardised nomenclature for survivorship and methodological limitations.

Conclusions: Four main gaps in knowledge relating to the practical and physical problems associated with cancer survivorship have been identified. These are key symptoms, unmet supportive care needs, employment and older cancer survivors, and should be addressed by future research and systematic literature reviews. Work is also needed to address the nomenclature of survivorship and to improve the methodology of research into cancer survivors (including standardised measures, theoretical frameworks, longitudinal design, inclusion of older survivors and age-matched controls for comparison). The review highlighted the need for better research within the identified areas in order to improve the experiences of cancer survivors. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.