In this review the effect of internet-based support programs on psychosocial and physical symptoms resulting from cancer diagnosis and treatment is analyzed. Selection of studies was based on the following criteria: (non-)randomized controlled trials, performed in adult cancer patients, comparing quantitative psychosocial and/or physical outcomes of an internet-based support program with (a) comparison group(s). Literature search yielded 2032 studies of which 16 fulfilled the eligibility criteria.
Three different internet-based support programs were identified: social support groups, online therapy for psychosocial/physical symptoms, and online systems integrating information, support, and coaching services. Outcomes improved by these programs in nine studies. Especially fatigue, social support, and distress improved, regardless of the program type. All online systems showed positive effects, mainly for social support and quality of life.
This analysis indicates that internet-based support programs are effective in improving psychosocial and physical symptoms in cancer patients. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
- PRIMARY BREAST-CANCER
- ONLINE SUPPORT
- CARE NEEDS