Background: Mobile health (mHealth) interventions for improving quality of life (QoL) are rising, particularly those related to promoting prevention, improving screening, managing care and supporting cancer patients and survivors. Though there is a clear surge in the mHealth interventions for cancer patients, yet the related research findings are fragmented. There is an urgent need to amalgamate the extant learnings, particularly those related to the review the effect of the mHealth interventions on awareness and screening of cancer.
Objective: The purpose of this study is to systematically review the available literature on mHealth interventions for different types of cancer patients and survivors with a view to synthesize the outcomes and impact for these interventions on the cancer disease management, right from awareness till survival.
Methods: The study followed systematic literature review (SLR) methodology wherein the peer-reviewed literature from Scopus and Web of Science databases were identified and analyzed. The SLR that involved study selection, data extraction, and data synthesis comprised of two stages, first, identifying the relevant mHealth interventions in context to cancer patients, and second, summarizing the outcomes and themes of the SLR followed a robust search protocol with clear inclusion and exclusion criteria, along with forward and backward searching of relevant records.
Results: A total of 57 publications (number of participants, n=112196) describing mHealth interventions for different types of cancer were identified. Of the 57 included studies, 23 (40%) were randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 21 (37%) were qualitative experimental, 5 (9%) pilot feasibility studies, 3 (5%) cross sectional surveys, 3 (5%) quasi-experimental and 2 (4%) sequential-mixed methods.
Most studies found that mHealth interventions have positive impact on cancer survivors and caregiver teams, as well as family members. Additionally, several RCTs suggest that mHealth provides person-centered care in clinical management settings for different types of cancer and improved survivorship care.
Conclusion: This SLR confirms the efficacy of mHealth interventions in cancer care and highlights the growth in number of studies exploring the implementation of mHealth interventions for cancer treatment and prevention. However, less conclusive data examining the impact of mHealth interventions on various psychological dimensions is available. The SLR findings suggest that mHealth interventions should be developed based on a theoretical approach and defined framework design. It would be useful if future studies carefully describe key elements of mHealth intervention used by cancer patients.
Key words: Cancer care, cancer survivors, cancer management, mHealth interventions, patients systematic literature review