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Self-management programme for cancer patients: a literature review


Ms Changrong Yuan, College of Nursing, Second Military Medical University, 800 Xiangying Road, Shanghai 200433, China; Tel: (86) 21-81871490; Fax: (86) 21-81871490; E-mail:


GAO W.J. & YUAN C.R. (2011) Self-management programme for cancer patients: a literature review. International Nursing Review58, 288–295

Background:  With increased cancer survivorship, cancer, in its chronic form, self-management among cancer patients has become an international research focus. Self-management programmes are used to guide the self-care process. Over the past 10 years, six self-management programmes for cancer patients (Taking CHARGE, Expert Patients Programme, Living with Cancer Education Program, Focus Program, PRO-SELF Program and Oncologist-referred exercise self-management programme) were used in a variety of self-management studies for cancer patients.

Aim:  The aims of this paper are to describe, compare and critique these six self-management programmes that are commonly used to guide self-management for cancer patients, and propose directions for new self-management programme development among cancer patients.

Methods:  Medline, Pubmed and Embase, Springer, Elsevier, EBSCO and ProQuest were searched for literatures on self-management programmes for cancer patients from 2000 to November 2010. Search terms such as ‘self-management’ or ‘self-care’ or ‘patient education’ or ‘self-management’ or ‘self-care’ or ‘self-efficacy’, ‘intervention’ or ‘program*’‘cancer’ or ‘carcinoma’ or ‘neoplasms’ were used.

Results:  Comparison and critique of these programmes revealed important limitations of cancer self-management programmes including lack of the facilitators' training process, failure to assess the cultural differences and failure to cover all of the outcome measures.

Conclusion:  Researchers and clinicians need to build more individualized and dynamic self-management programmes that parallel advances in clinical research and practice for cancer patients.