Hersch, J., Juraskova, I., Price, M and Mullan, B. (2009). Psychosocial interventions and quality of life in gynaecological cancer patients: a systematic review. Psycho-Oncology, 18: 795-810.
Objective: Women with gynaecological cancer are at risk of poor quality of life outcomes. Although various psychosocial interventions have been developed to address these concerns, such interventions have not yet been systematically evaluated in this population. The current review provides an up-to-date and comprehensive summary of the evidence regarding the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in women with gynaecological cancers.
Methods: Relevant studies were identified via Medline, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases (1980 to June 2008), reference lists of articles and reviews, grey literature databases, and consultations with physicians and other experts in the field. Only controlled trials comparing a psychosocial intervention with a control group in a gynaecological cancer population, with at least one quality of life variable as a main outcome, were included in the review. Two authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data.
Results: Twenty-two studies involving 1926 participants were included. There was substantial variability in study quality and results. Evidence was mixed regarding intervention effects on social and sexual functioning, distress, depression, anxiety, attitude to medical care, self- esteem and body image. Interventions generally did not improve physical or vocational outcomes.
Conclusions: There was limited evidence in support of healing touch, whereas information- based interventions seemed largely unable to provide meaningful benefits. Cognitive- behavioural interventions had some positive effects. Counselling appeared to be the most promising intervention strategy for addressing quality of life concerns for women with gynaecological cancers.