Mapping Systematic Reviews of Breast Cancer Survivorship Interventions: A Network Analysis

Although breast cancer survivorship research has grown rapidly, not many findings have been translated into practice. To speed up this process, scientists and clinicians in South Australia, Netherlands, and the US evaluated the current evidence and found significant evidence gaps around best practice survivorship care in breast cancer. Across 323 systematic reviews, the authors found two popular areas of research: surveillance and management of psychosocial effects, as well as surveillance and management of physical effects. These are suggestive of the priorities of cancer survivors and researchers in previous years. Nearly one-third of reviews investigated at least one health care outcome, mainly health-related quality of life. The authors conducted a network analysis, which quantified the connections between different topics and identified gaps in the literature. Very few reviews around breast cancer survivorship focused on prevention and surveillance of recurrence of new cancers, management of chronic medical conditions, or financial and employment issues – similar to reviews in colorectal and prostate cancer. However, the network analysis also showed that the representation  of these topics has improved in the last few years. In terms of outcomes, evidence around health care delivery has also been underrepresented, including aspects such as patient-caregiver experience or care coordination. Systematic reviews that evaluated health care delivery were mainly focused on prevention and surveillance for recurring and new cancers, but not on the less represented topics listed above, which may contribute to the lack of translation of findings into practice. Overall, the authors used a novel combination of methods to thoroughly evaluate the body of research around breast cancer survivorship. Their findings demonstrate that breast cancer survivorship research is evolving along with the priorities of cancer survivors, and highlight the importance of bridging the evidence-implementation gap. This will be a crucial step in closing gaps in the literature and improving translation of research findings. Read the original article here.
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