Evidence for Choosing Qigong as an Integrated Intervention in Cancer Care: An Umbrella Review

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Feb 12;15(4):1176. doi: 10.3390/cancers15041176.


Cancer is the second leading cause of noncommunicable disease death, with an increasing incidence. Qigong practice can moderate non-intrinsic, modifiable risk factors that act on the stress response using physical movements, breathing, and focused attention. The purpose of this umbrella review is to provide a concise summary to facilitate an evidence-based decision to integrate Qigong into cancer patients' care. Relevant systematic reviews and meta-analyses were identified and retrieved from the JBI database, Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL. Of all of the studies assessed, none found evidence of a risk to cancer patients, indicating that Qigong is a safe practice that can be used even by frail patients. The overall quality of life, cancer-related fatigue, and cognitive impairment were improved by Qigong. Different Qigong programs have different impacts on sleep quality and gastrointestinal problems, suggesting that longer practice sessions are required to achieve improvements. To maintain Qigong's effectiveness, an ordinary practice is essential, or such effectiveness will wear off. The use of biological markers in efficacy assessments needs to be more systematically studied. However, positive WBC, RBC, and CRP trends in Qigong practitioners are evident. Higher-quality clinical studies are necessary to measure variables more closely related to Qigong functioning and consider cancer's multifactorial nature.

Keywords: Qigong; biomarker; cancer care management; cancer-related symptom; integrated care; integrative medicine; integrative nursing; mind–body; psychology; umbrella review.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.