Introduction: Cancer is an incurable disease that affects people regardless of age, sex, race and social, economic and cultural status. Most cancer patients are treated with a combination of treatments based on the type of tumor, the extent of the disease, and their physical condition. Self-management programs empower people to deal with illness and improve their quality of life. Telemedicine in the form of mobile applications, websites and social networks is one of the effective tools to achieve this goal. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of telemedicine and social media on self-care of cancer patients.
Method: English related articles were searched based on keywords in the title and abstract using PubMed and Scopus databases (from 1963 to December 2020). Keywords included telemedicine, social networking, self-care and m-health. Inclusion criteria included all studies published in English that examined the impact of telemedicine and social media on cancer patients' self-care. Review articles and non-intervention articles were excluded from the study.
Results: A total of 516 articles were selected by title. After reviewing the abstract, 80 articles remained to be reviewed. After evaluating the full text of these articles, 9 eligible articles were selected for final review. In terms of the type of cancer among these studies, prostate cancer had the largest share (33%). In line with the main purpose of this study, in 7 articles (77.8%) telemedicine had a significant positive effect on self-care of cancer patients and increased self-care. In one article (11.1%) this effect was negative and reduced self-care. In 1 article (11.1%) no effect was observed.
Conclusion: According to the results of the present study, it seems that web-based interventions and mobile health in most articles have been effective in increasing patients' self-care. However, due to the increasing number of cancers as well as the increasing use of telemedicine in the field of chronic diseases and cancer, the need for further studies is felt in this field.
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