While medical outcomes are important for cancer patients, there are still many areas in which psychosocial interventions can be helpful. As already discussed there are a range of factors that affect medical adherence, but there are other common side-effects of cancer treatment that have shown themselves amenable to psychological intervention. For example chemotherapy is often associated with vomiting and anti-emetic drugs are frequently ineffective in ameliorating this side-effect. Compas et al. (1998) reviews some of these findings. They report, for example that behaviour therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing vomiting. Other research reported by Compas et al. (1998) looked at interventions aimed at psychological stress and quality of life. CBT has been compared in a number of studies to group therapy and found to be effective. A second group of interventions is often called 'supportive-expressive' and normally involves encouraging the members of a group suffering from the same illness to build supportive networks between themselves. Spiegel, Bloom & Yalom (1981) found evidence that this kind of intervention was effective in women with metastatic breast cancer. Compas et al. (1998) point out that there is no evidence for the efficacy of this intervention in patients with less serious breast cancers.
Helgeson, Cohen, Yasko & Shulz (2001) report the results of their three year follow-ups comparing control groups, an education group, a peer discussion group and finally a peer discussion and education group. The education intervention was shown to be the most effective with women assigned to the education-only group showing lower levels of bodily pain and higher levels of physical functioning. Here peer discussion was found to be ineffective over the three year time-period. Many other different interventions have been used but researchers are keen that any research should be replicatable, so that research which does not provide a clear explanation of its methods cannot be considered strictly scientific. A fair proportion of the research in this area falls into this category.