Practice of traditional Chinese medicine for psycho-behavioral intervention improves quality of life in cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis


BACKGROUND Cancer patients suffer from diverse symptoms, including depression, anxiety, pain, and fatigue and lower quality of life (QoL) during disease progression. This study aimed to evaluate the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine psycho-behavioral interventions (TCM PBIs) on improving QoL by meta-analysis. RESULTS The six TCM PBIs analyzed were acupuncture, Chinese massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine five elements musical intervention (TCM FEMI), Traditional Chinese Medicine dietary supplement (TCM DS), Qigong and Tai Chi. Although both TCM PBIs and non-TCM PBIs reduced functional impairments in cancer patients and led to pain relief, depression remission, reduced time to flatulence following surgery and sleep improvement, TCM PBIs showed more beneficial effects as assessed by reducing both fatigue and gastrointestinal distress. In particular, acupuncture relieved fatigue, reduced diarrhea and decreased time to flatulence after surgery in cancer patients, while therapeutic Chinese massage reduced time to flatulence and time to peristaltic sound. METHODS Electronic literature databases (PubMed, CNKI, VIP, and Wanfang) were searched for randomized, controlled trials conducted in China. The primary intervention was TCM PBIs. The main outcome was health-related QoL (HR QoL) post-treatment. We applied standard meta analytic techniques to analyze data from papers that reached acceptable criteria. CONCLUSION These findings demonstrate the efficacy of TCM PBIs in improving QoL in cancer patients and establish that TCM PBIs represent beneficial adjunctive therapies for cancer patients.


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