The effectiveness of psychoeducational intervention on managing symptom clusters in patients with cancer: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

W. Xiao, K.M. Chow, W.K.W. So, Yin Ping Leung, C.W.H. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationLiterature reviewAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.Background: Managing symptom clusters instead of single symptoms could be more beneficial in cancer care. Psychoeducational intervention (PEI) has been highlighted as a promising symptom intervention, but the effect of PEI in the management of cancer symptom clusters remains unknown. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of PEI on managing symptom clusters in patients with cancer. Methods: Six databases were searched, together with hand searching, to identify eligible randomized controlled trials from the year 2001 to July 2014. Data selection, quality appraisal of studies, and data extraction were conducted independently by 2 reviewers. Data were synthesized by use of a systematic narrative approach, and meta-analysis was conducted when this was possible. Results: Four eligible studies involving 343 cancer patients were included in the review. The methodological quality of the studies was generally fair. Symptom clusters seemed to improve with the provision of PEI. Meta-analysis shows significant improvement in functional performance. Conclusions: The evidence that PEI could alleviate cancer symptom clusters is encouraging but inconclusive in this review. Future well-designed investigations testing some commonly used PEI such as progressive muscle relaxation and patient education on various types of cancer symptom clusters are warranted. Implications for Practice: This review suggests a promising role of PEI in managing cancer symptom clusters. Healthcare providers should increase their awareness of managing symptom clusters using PEI to yield more effective and efficient cancer care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-291
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Psychoeducational intervention
  • Symptom clusters
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)

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