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Title: Meta-analysis of the efficacy of virtual reality-based interventions in cancer-related symptom management
Authors: Zeng, YC
Zhang, JE
Cheng, ASK 
Cheng, HS
Wefel, JS
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Integrative cancer therapies, Aug. 2019, v. 18, p. 1-8
Abstract: Background. This meta-analysis summarizes the results from recent studies that examined the use of virtual reality (VR)-based interventions on health-related outcomes in patients with cancer, and quantitatively evaluates the efficacy of VR-based interventions. Findings of this meta-analysis can provide direction for future symptom management research.
Methods. The search terms included a combination of "virtual reality" OR "virtual environment" OR "head-mounted display" with "oncology" OR "cancer." Three databases (Medline, PubMed, and CAJ Full-text Database), one search engine (Google Scholar), and the website of ResearchGate, covering the period from December 2013 to May 15, 2019, and including articles published in both English and Chinese, were searched. Data synthesis used the RevMan 5.3 to generate pooled estimates of effect size.
Results. A total of 6 empirical studies met the eligibility criteria. VR-based interventions had statistically significant effects on reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain, and cognitive function, whereas statistically significant benefit was observed for fatigue (Z = 2.76, P = .006).
Conclusion. Most recent studies have primarily examined VR-based interventions for symptom management in the acute stages of cancer care. However, the management of late and long-term side effects is central to cancer survivorship care. There is burgeoning empirical support for further research to evaluate the efficacy of VR-based interventions in cancer rehabilitation.
Keywords: Virtual reality
Cancer care
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Journal: Integrative cancer therapies 
ISSN: 1534-7354
EISSN: 1552-695X
DOI: 10.1177/1534735419871108
Rights: © The Author(s) 2019
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Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
The following publication Zeng, Y. C., Zhang, J. E., Cheng, A. S. K., Cheng, H. S., & Wefel, J. S. (2019). Meta-analysis of the efficacy of virtual reality-based interventions in cancer-related symptom management. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 18, 1-8 is available at
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