Paediatric patients with cancer undergo multiple treatments and procedures that can be invasive and painful. Virtual reality technologies could support the management of paediatric cancer. This Review focuses on the physiological and psychological efficacy of virtual reality in supportive care management. Virtual reality has shown potential in reducing pain scores, pulse rates, and distress scores, but has no significant effect on other indicators, such as anxiety, fear, and depression. Several virtual reality characteristics might affect its effectiveness when used in the paediatric cancer setting. Virtual reality games with high fidelity (eg, fully-isolating head-mounted display, stereo sound, and controllers) components provide a higher level of immersion, presence, and narrative engagement, which could better manage pain. Personalising the virtual reality experience to the patient and procedure would also improve accessibility and comfort. Clinicians should work closely with virtual reality developers to ensure that the virtual reality applications used are appropriate for their patients.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health (The Lancet. Child & adolescent health)
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