Cancer Patients During and after Natural and Man-Made Disasters: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Health in Emergency and Disaster, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Medical and Surgical, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran.

4 Department of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran Medical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Background: Disasters affect all social functions. In particular, hospitals must mobilize their resources for response to
mass injuries. This process can affected treatment of cancer patients and may resulted in delayed care. Considering the
importance of continuity of care for cancer patients, the aim of this systematic review was to identify challenges and
preparedness measures for cancer patients during and after disasters. Materials and Methods: This systematic review
that was conducted based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
guidelines between January 2000 to December 2017. The keywords searched included: “disaster,” “emergency,”
“crisis,” “disruptive event,” “technological disaster,” “natural disaster,” “cancer,” “cancer patient,” “chronic disease,”
“continuity of care,” and “patient with chronic disease. “The Google Scholar, ISI Web of Science, Science Direct,
PubMed and Scopus databases were searched. Results: After screening and review of article eligibility, seven were
included in the study. The selected articles were compared from several aspects. The results showed that most publications concerned all of the chronic diseases or all types of cancers. In addition breast cancer appeared a field of interest in disaster studies. Cancer studies in disaster management usually concentrated less on technological disasters. Conclusion: In aftermath of disasters, the concentration on measures to provide services for injuries and food, water and shelter, results in many challenges for cancer patients. Thus the health system must prepare cancer patients and caregivers for better responses to disasters. In addition, surge capacity must be considered in hospitals and other medical facilities to guarantee continuity of care.


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