Effects of virtual reality on physical, cognitive, and psychological outcomes in cancer rehabilitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jie Hao, Yanfei Li, Rebecca Swanson, Zhen Chen, Ka Chun Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To systematically examine and summarize the current evidence regarding the effects of virtual reality (VR) on physical, cognitive, and psychological outcomes in cancer rehabilitation. Methods: Six bioscience and engineering databases were searched. Two independent reviewers screened the titles and abstracts of 2397 records and retrieved 25 full-text articles. Inclusion criteria included patients with a current or previous diagnosis of cancer; VR was used as an intervention for physical, cognitive, or psychological impairments and functional limitations; and clinical trials with at least two arms and with both pre- and post-intervention assessments. Reviewers assessed methodological quality using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Results: Seventeen studies including 799 patients with cancer were identified. Within-group pooled analysis indicated that patients demonstrated significant improvement in pain (P < 0.001), fatigue (P < 0.001), anxiety (P < 0.001), upper extremity function (P < 0.001), and quality of life (P = 0.008) after VR intervention. Between-group pooled analysis indicated significant improvements with VR in pain (P = 0.004), anxiety (P < 0.001), and upper extremity function (P < 0.001) compared with the control. Three studies reported the positive effects of VR on cognition. Conclusions: VR demonstrates promising effects in physical, cognitive, and psychological aspects of patients with cancer. VR can be incorporated into a comprehensive cancer rehabilitation program to alleviate impairments and functional limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Function
  • Impairment
  • Oncology
  • Physical therapy
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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