Survivorship care plans for breast cancer patients: understanding the quality of the available evidence

V. D'Souza, H. Daudt, A. Kazanjian



The overall goal of the present study was to contribute to consistency in the provincial approach to survivorship care planning through knowledge synthesis and exchange. Our review focused on the research concerning the physical and emotional challenges of breast cancer (bca) patients and survivors and the effects of the interventions that have been used for lessening those challenges.


The psychosocial topics identified in bca survivorship care plans created by two different initiatives in our province provided the platform for our search criteria: quality of life (qol), sexual function, fatigue, and lifestyle behaviours. We conducted an umbrella review to retrieve the best possible evidence, and only reviews investigating the intended outcomes in bca survivors and having moderate-to-high methodologic quality scores were included.


Of 486 reports retrieved, 51 reviews met the inclusion criteria and form part of the synthesis. Our results indicate that bca patients and survivors experience numerous physical and emotional challenges and that interventions such as physical activity, psychoeducation, yoga, and mindfulness-based stress reduction are beneficial in alleviating those challenges.


Our study findings support the existing survivorship care plans in our province with respect to the physical and emotional challenges that bca survivors often face. However, the literature concerning cancer risks specific to bca survivors is scant. Although systematic reviews are considered to be the “gold standard” in knowledge synthesis, our findings suggest that much remains to be done in the area of synthesis research to better guide practice in cancer survivorship.


Breast cancer; survivorship; survivorship care planning; psychosocial concerns

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)