Peer support opportunities across the cancer care continuum: a systematic scoping review of recent peer-reviewed literature
Evidence suggests peer support (PS) is as an effective strategy for enhancing prevention and control of chronic and infectious diseases, including cancer. This systematic scoping review examines the range and variety of interventions on the use of PS across the cancer care continuum.
We used a broad definition of PS to capture a wide-range of interventions and characterize the current status of the field. Literature searches were conducted using PubMed, SCOPUS, and CINAHL to identify relevant articles published from January 2011 to June 2016. We screened the title and abstracts of 2087 articles, followed by full-text screening of 420 articles, resulting in a final sample of 242 articles of which the most recent 100 articles were reviewed (published June 2014 to May 2016).
A number of the recent intervention studies focused on breast cancer (32%, breast cancer only) or multiple cancer sites (23%). Although the interventions spanned all phases of the cancer care continuum, only 2% targeted end-of-life care. Seventy-six percent focused on clinical outcomes (e.g., screening, treatment adherence) and 72% on reducing health disparities. Interventions were primarily phone-based (44%) or delivered in a clinic setting (44%). Only a few studies (22%) described the impact of providing PS on peer supporters.
PS appears to be a widely used approach to address needs across the cancer care continuum, with many opportunities to expand its reach.
KeywordsCancer Community health workers Navigator Oncology Peer support Social support
Preparation of this manuscript was supported by Peers for Progress, Chapel Hill, NC; the Cancer Health Disparities Training Program (2T32CA128582-06) and UNC Center for Health Equity Research (for author KRE); the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Geographical Management of Cancer Health Disparities Programs, Region 1-South, (3P30CA138313-07S2); and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (P30 CA016086) through an NCI Administrative Supplement to Strengthen NCI-Supported Community Outreach Capacity through Community Health Educators (CHEs) of the National Outreach Network (NON).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Research involving human participants
This research did not involve human participants.
Since this research did not involve human participants, informed consent was not required.
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