Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 2957–2971 | Cite as

Perspectives of children, family caregivers, and health professionals about pediatric oncology symptoms: a systematic review

  • Lei Cheng
  • Liying Wang
  • Mengxue He
  • Sheng Feng
  • Yehui Zhu
  • Cheryl Rodgers
Review Article



To evaluate the existing body of evidence to determine the current state of knowledge regarding the perspectives of the following groups: (1) children with cancer, (2) family caregivers, and (3) healthcare professionals, about symptoms, as well as factors that may influence the symptom reports.


A systematic search was performed for all types of studies that included the perspectives of at least two groups of participants’ symptom reports. Children included anyone younger than 19 years of age who was diagnosed with any type of cancer. Electronic searches were conducted in five English databases and four Chinese databases. The appraisal of methodological quality was conducted using the GRADE criteria. Data were extracted into matrix tables.


Thirty-three studies were included. The pediatric oncology symptoms reported by children, family caregivers, and healthcare professionals were synthesized. Findings suggested that family caregivers’ symptom reports were more closely aligned with children’s reports than with the healthcare professionals’ reports. Influencing factors on the different symptom reports included the children’s diagnosis, symptom characteristics, social-demographic factors, and family caregivers’ psychosocial status.


Children with cancer should be the primary reporters for their symptoms. When there are reporters other than the children, the potential discrepancy between the different perspectives needs to be carefully considered.


Family caregiver Health care professional Oncology Pediatrics Symptom Systematic review 



The authors would like to thank Jamie Conklin, MSLIS, Prof Library Staff, Medical Center Library and Archives, School of Medicine, Duke University for her invaluable assistance with the literature search strategy and Marion. E. Broome PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Ruby F. Wilson Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing, Duke University, for her thoughtful comments and constructive suggestions during the preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Nursing DepartmentFudan University Cancer HospitalShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Pediatric Hematology/Oncology UnitShanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Pediatric Intensive Care UnitShanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  5. 5.School of NursingUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  6. 6.School of NursingDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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