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Music may be good natural medicine for cancer

Harold Mandel's picture
Music nurtures good health

New research shows that patients suffering from cancer may have better outcomes both psychologically and physically with natural music therapy.


Taking the time to listen to music may help to improve the overall treatment outcomes for patients with cancer. Drexel University has reported that music has been demonstrated to help relieve the symptoms in people suffering from cancer. The Cochrane Library has published a systematic review which shows there is notable evidence that the symptoms of pain, fatigue and anxiety are lessened with music interventions. Music interventions also overall improve the quality of life of cancer patients and therefore offer a potentially effective natural treatment for cancer patients.

Music therapy and music medicine are helpful for cancer patients

Joke Bradt, PhD, an associate professor in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, led a team of researchers which investigated the impact which music therapy and music medicine has on psychological and physical outcomes in patients suffering from cancer. Music therapy is a personalized type of experience with music which is given by trained music therapists. Music medicine involves listening to pre-recorded music which is provided by a doctor or nurse.

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Bradt says it has been observed that the quality of life of patients is specifically improved with music therapy. This is very significant because these outcomes have a vital role in the overall well being of patients. One of the findings with the most impact was that there was a moderate to strong effect in decreasing the anxiety of cancer patients with all types of music interventions. There was also a large treatment benefit for the lessening of pain and a small to moderate treatment effect for fatigue. Mild decreases in heart and respiratory rates and decreased blood pressure were also seen with music interventions.

Music holds promise for the psychosocial care of cancer patients

According to the researchers listening to music may decrease the need for anesthetics and analgesics while also decreasing time for recovery and the time spent in the hospital. It seems that music medicine and music therapy interventions can play a vital role in the care of patients with cancer. Bradt would like to see health care providers consider the use of music therapy in medical settings for the psychosocial care of patients with cancer.

In consideration of the extensive physical, emotional and social suffering of people suffering from cancer it is significant that music interventions can be helpful in lessening symptoms and treatment side effects. The idea to implement music therapy and music medicine into the routine care of cancer patients is certainly worth considering. Music offers a great potential natural treatment for people with cancer.