Purpose/objectives: To provide an overview of cancer-related patient-education research to determine future research needs.
Data sources: A literature search of peer-reviewed articles from 1989-1999. Databases that were searched included Medline, CINAHL, HealthStar, ERIC, CancerLit, and PubMed.
Data synthesis: 176 articles were analyzed and synthesized into narrative form.
Conclusions: Patients with cancer want and benefit from information, especially when making treatment decisions. Education helps patients manage side effects and improves adherence. Literacy is an important factor in materials development. The efficacy of computer-assisted learning, audio and video programs, and telephone interventions is supported in a variety of patient groups. Pain education can improve pain control, but the impact on fatigue has not been well researched.
Implications for nursing practice: Patient education is an important component of nursing care. Research has confirmed its impact in many areas but questions still remain.