Strategies to self-manage side-effects of adjuvant endocrine therapy among breast cancer survivors: an umbrella review of empirical evidence and clinical guidelines

Louise H Hall, Natalie V King, Christopher D Graham, Sophie M C Green, Alice Barber, Richard D Neal, Robbie Foy, Jane Clark, Kelly E Lloyd, Samuel G Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Side-effects of adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET) are common in breast cancer survivors, and can affect adherence to treatment. We synthesised the evidence for strategies to self-manage these side-effects. We searched for systematic reviews and clinical guidelines on self-management strategies for AET side-effects (arthralgia, fatigue, hot flashes, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vulvovaginal symptoms, and sleep disturbance). We searched oncology organisation's websites and eight databases (Inception-November 2020). Screening, data extraction and quality assessment were completed independently in duplicate. 2019CRD4201914001. We identified 33 systematic reviews and 18 clinical guidelines. 21% of reviews were high quality, and the average quality score for guidelines was 44%. Evidence for most strategies was absent or weak. There was consensus from a low-quality review and multiple guidelines to recommend moisturisers, gels and lubricants for vulvovaginal symptoms. Evidence was weak for physical activity for self-managing most symptoms, although two high-quality reviews indicated yoga and aerobic exercise could reduce fatigue. Primary research was often biased by weak and underpowered study designs. Eleven reviews did not report information on adverse events. Most self-management strategies for breast cancer survivors experiencing side-effects from AET lack evidence. Primary research is needed using high-quality well-powered designs focusing on implementable strategies. Patients and clinicians should be aware that although the risk of harm is low for these self-management strategies, the likelihood of benefit is often unclear. Women should consider moisturisers, gels or lubricants for self-managing vulvovaginal symptoms, and yoga or aerobic exercise for alleviating fatigue.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Early online date18 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 18 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Self-management
  • Side-effects
  • Systematic review
  • Breast cancer
  • Complementary therapy
  • Adjuvant endocrine therapy

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Strategies to self-manage side-effects of adjuvant endocrine therapy among breast cancer survivors: an umbrella review of empirical evidence and clinical guidelines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this