In a nutshell
This study evaluated the impact of non-drug therapy on the quality of life (QoL) of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The study found that non-drug therapies such as psychological, social, and physical activities were associated with reduced anxiety, depression, and improved QoL.
CRC is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. To treat CRC, patients can have surgery to remove the tumor. Often, patients are given chemotherapy (CT) after surgery to make sure any remaining cancer cells are killed. Recovering from CRC involves managing the side effects of therapy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
From the point of diagnosis to recovery, CRC can impact a patient’s mental health. Patients with CRC can suffer from depression, anxiety, and an overall reduction in QoL. To manage the impact of CRC on patients’ mental health, different non-drug therapies are recommended. These include psychological therapy or physical therapy (exercise, yoga). However, it is not currently known to what extent these non-drug interventions can improve a patient's mental health and QoL.
Methods & findings
This study evaluated data from 20 trials with 3438 patients with CRC. Non-drug therapy was delivered after surgery to remove the tumor in 19 trials. QoL was evaluated mostly through questionnaires. In general, patients received weekly non-drug therapy such as psychotherapy or physical therapy delivered by trained personnel.
42.11% of the trials reported a significant improvement in overall patient QoL. Patients who received non-drug therapy face-to-face had a significant improvement in QoL 1-4 months after therapy. The impact of physical therapy on QoL was not assessed.
13 trials assessed patient anxiety. Patients who received non-drug therapies reported a significant reduction in anxiety 5-8 months after therapy. Patients who had face-to-face therapy without physical therapy reported a significant improvement in anxiety scores.
12 trials assessed patient depression scores. Patients who had face-to-face therapy with physical therapy reported lower depression 5-8-months after therapy.
The bottom line
The study concluded that psychological and physical interventions were associated with an improved QoL in patients with CRC.
The fine print
Not all trials had a control group. Not all patients in each trial received the same type of treatment. Patients’ disease stage or severity was not taken into account. More controlled studies are required to draw definite conclusions.
Published By :
Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Mar 31, 2021
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