Researches have accumulated using non-pharmacologic interventions including acupoint stimulation, massage therapy and expressive writing to manage breast cancer-related symptoms. Results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) can get contradictory. Objective A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to determine the effects on the quality of life, negative emotions and disease-related symptoms among women with breast cancer. Methods Two independent researchers performed a structured search using data sources including MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, PubMed and PsychINFO from the beginning of time until the first week of January 2015. A total of 23 acupoint stimulation, massage therapy and expressive writing RCTs were included in the review. Results The study showed that no single intervention could be put under the spotlight exhibiting an overall effective result on all measured outcomes; however, looking into each one in detail shows different results in specific outcomes. Among the three interventions, acupoint stimulation has a treatment effect for general pain (MD = −1.46, 95% CI = −2.38 to −0.53) and fatigue (MD = −2.22, 95% CI = −3.68 to −0.77), massage therapy has a treatment effect for anxiety (MD = −0.50, 95% CI = −0.77 to −0.24), and expressive writing has a treatment effect for quality of life (MD = 7.18, 95% CI = 0.38 to 13.98). The measurement other outcomes showed either ineffective or equivocal results. Conclusion Non-pharmacologic interventions including acupoint stimulation, massage therapy and expressive writing have an effect on a middle-age woman with breast cancer. However, because of limitations, the seemingly promising results should be interpreted with caution.
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