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Impact of informal cancer caregiving across the cancer experience: A systematic literature review of quality of life

Objective: Informal caregiving may likely increase as the number of cancer survivors grows. Caregiving responsibilities can impact caregivers' quality of life (QOL). Understanding the current state of the science regarding caregiving QOL could help inform future research and intervention development.; Methods: A systematic literature review in PubMed/Medline examined research on QOL among informal cancer caregivers and related psychosocial health outcomes. Original research articles in English, published between 2007 and 2017 about caregivers (aged >18 years) of adult cancer patients in the United States were included. Abstracted articles were categorized according to caregiving recipient's phase of survivorship (acute, middle to long-term, end of life/bereavement).; Results: Of 920 articles abstracted, 60 met inclusion criteria. Mean caregiver age ranged from 37 to 68 with the majority being female, non-Hispanic white, with at least a high school degree, and middle income. Almost half of the studies focused on caregivers who provided care for survivors from diagnosis through the end of active treatment. Studies examined physical health, spirituality, psychological distress, and social support. Differences in QOL were noted by caregiver age, sex, and employment status.; Significance Of Results: Additional research includes the examination of the needs of diverse cancer caregivers and determines how additional caregiver characteristics (e.g., physical functioning, financial burden, etc.) affect QOL. This includes studies examining caregiver QOL in the phases following the cessation of active treatment and assessments of health systems, support services, and insurance to determine barriers and facilitators needed to meet the immediate and long-term needs of cancer caregivers.

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Cambridge University Press
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Palliative & Supportive Care
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