Throughout the trajectory of the cancer experience, children and adolescents will likely face pain and anxiety in a variety of circumstances.
Integrative therapies may be used either alone or as an adjunct to standard analgesics.
Children are often very receptive to integrative therapies such as music, art, guided imagery, massage, therapeutic play, distraction, and other modalities.
The effect of integrative modalities on pain and anxiety in children with cancer has not been systematically examined across the entire cancer experience.
An in-depth search of PubMed, CINAHL, MedLine, PsychInfo, and Web of Science, integrative medicine journals, and the reference lists of review articles using the search terms pain, anxiety, pediatric, child*, oncology, cancer, neoplasm, complementary, integrative, nonconventional, and unconventional yielded 164 articles.
Of these, 25 warranted full-text review. Cohen's d calculations show medium (d = 0.70) to extremely large (8.57) effect sizes indicating that integrative interventions may be very effective for pain and anxiety in children undergoing cancer treatment.
Integrative modalities warrant further study with larger sample sizes to better determine their effectiveness in this population.
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