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Review

Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Systems for Cancer Survivors: A Narrative Review of the Literature

1
Department of Mental and Physical Health and Preventive Medicine, “Luigi Vanvitelli” University of Campania, 80129 Naples, Italy
2
Department of Biology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Center for Biotechnology, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
3
Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
4
Institute for High Performance Computing and Networking, National Research Council of Italy (ICAR-CNR), 80131 Naples, Italy
5
Cell Biology and Biotherapy Unit, Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS-Fondazione G. Pascale, 80131 Naples, Italy
6
Department of Breast and Thoracic Oncology, National Cancer Institute “Fondazione Pascale”, 80131 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hamid Khayyam
Cancers 2022, 14(13), 3163; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14133163
Received: 25 March 2022 / Revised: 23 June 2022 / Accepted: 24 June 2022 / Published: 28 June 2022
(This article belongs to the Topic Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy)
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review aiming to assess the impact of VR on the rehabilitation care of cancer survivors. We conducted a general review of the current evidence on the efficacy of virtual reality rehabilitation (VRR) systems on cancer-related impairments as retrieved through a systematic search of the main research databases. VRR systems may improve adherence to rehabilitation training programs and be better tailored to cancer patients’ needs, but more data is needed.
Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in cancer care, as the functioning of cancer survivors is frequently compromised by impairments that can result from the disease itself but also from the long-term sequelae of the treatment. Nevertheless, the current literature shows that only a minority of patients receive physical and/or cognitive rehabilitation. This lack of rehabilitative care is a consequence of many factors, one of which includes the transportation issues linked to disability that limit the patient’s access to rehabilitation facilities. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has further shown the benefits of improving telemedicine and home-based rehabilitative interventions to facilitate the delivery of rehabilitation programs when attendance at healthcare facilities is an obstacle. In recent years, researchers have been investigating the benefits of the application of virtual reality to rehabilitation. Virtual reality is shown to improve adherence and training intensity through gamification, allow the replication of real-life scenarios, and stimulate patients in a multimodal manner. In our present work, we offer an overview of the present literature on virtual reality-implemented cancer rehabilitation. The existence of wide margins for technological development allows us to expect further improvements, but more randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the hypothesis that VRR may improve adherence rates and facilitate telerehabilitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: virtual; reality; cancer; rehabilitation; disability; robotics; lymphedema; pain; fatigue; telemedicine virtual; reality; cancer; rehabilitation; disability; robotics; lymphedema; pain; fatigue; telemedicine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Melillo, A.; Chirico, A.; De Pietro, G.; Gallo, L.; Caggianese, G.; Barone, D.; De Laurentiis, M.; Giordano, A. Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Systems for Cancer Survivors: A Narrative Review of the Literature. Cancers 2022, 14, 3163. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14133163

AMA Style

Melillo A, Chirico A, De Pietro G, Gallo L, Caggianese G, Barone D, De Laurentiis M, Giordano A. Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Systems for Cancer Survivors: A Narrative Review of the Literature. Cancers. 2022; 14(13):3163. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14133163

Chicago/Turabian Style

Melillo, Antonio, Andrea Chirico, Giuseppe De Pietro, Luigi Gallo, Giuseppe Caggianese, Daniela Barone, Michelino De Laurentiis, and Antonio Giordano. 2022. "Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Systems for Cancer Survivors: A Narrative Review of the Literature" Cancers 14, no. 13: 3163. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14133163

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