The influence of telehealth-based cancer rehabilitation interventions on disability: a systematic review



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Cancer Survivorship




Cancer rehabilitation, Disability, Function, Intervention, Neoplasm, Telehealth


Purpose: To characterize delivery features and explore effectiveness of telehealth-based cancer rehabilitation interventions that address disability in adult cancer survivors. Methods: A systematic review of electronic databases (CINAHL Plus, Cochrane Library: Database of Systematic Reviews, Embase, National Health Service’s Health Technology Assessment, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science) was conducted in December 2019 and updated in April 2021. Results: Searches identified 3,499 unique studies. Sixty-eight studies met inclusion criteria. There were 81 unique interventions across included studies. Interventions were primarily delivered post-treatment and lasted an average of 16.5 weeks (SD = 13.1). They were most frequently delivered using telephone calls (59%), administered delivered by nursing professionals (35%), and delivered in a one-on-one format (88%). Risk of bias of included studies was primarily moderate to high. Included studies captured 55 measures of disability. Only 54% of reported outcomes had data that allowed calculation of effect sizes ranging -3.58 to 15.66. Conclusions: The analyses suggest small effects of telehealth-based cancer interventions on disability, though the heterogeneity seen in the measurement of disability makes it hard to draw firm conclusions. Further research using more diverse samples, common measures of disability, and pragmatic study designs is needed to advance telehealth in cancer rehabilitation. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Telehealth-based cancer rehabilitation interventions have the potential to increase access to care designed to reduce disability across the cancer care continuum.

Open Access

Green Final


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