Published December 11, 2020 | Version Published
Journal article Open

Virtual Reality for Pain Management in Cancer: A Comprehensive Review

  • 1. Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Articial Intelligent, University of Groningen, 9747 CP Groningen, The Netherlands and 4Department of Computer Science, University of Cyprus, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 2. Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies RISE, 1066 Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 3. University of Cyprus, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 4. Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Articial Intelligent, University of Groningen, 9747 CP Groningen, The Netherlands
  • 5. University of Cyprus, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus and Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies RISE, 1066 Nicosia, Cyprus

Description

Virtual Reality is a computer-simulated 3-Dimensional technology in which the user interacts via different senses: visual, auditory, tactile, and/or olfactory. In the past decades, it has been argued that Virtual Reality as a technique could be applied in the clinical environment to successfully manage pain. This article provides a systematic review of research on Virtual Reality and pain management for patients who are suffering from cancer. More specifically, this article focuses on all types of Virtual Reality technologies (Non-Immersive, Semi-Immersive, Fully-Immersive) which has been developed and released to manage the pain which evokes from the treatment of cancer. An exhaustive search identified 23 relevant studies from 2010 to 2020. Overall, the identified studies indicated that Virtual Reality can improve the experience of pain for patients who are suffering from cancer. It was also found that, if Virtual Reality is appropriately designed, the pain which is arising from cancer treatments can be reduced. Even though some positive outcomes have been reported, overall, the results are inconclusive and studies that examine specifically the treatment of pain in cancer patients are limited. Further research needs to be conducted, to articulate clearly, under what circumstances Virtual Reality is an effective tool for cancer patients, and under what factors Virtual Reality can be the solution to the pain patients are experiencing.

Notes

This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Republic of Cyprus through the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.

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Additional details

Funding

RISE – Research Center on Interactive Media, Smart System and Emerging Technologies 739578
European Commission