Music Therapy Interventions for Cancer Patients
Music therapy interventions are frequently employed in cancer care to address various needs that arise as a result of diagnosis and treatment – physical, emotional, social, existential.
Music therapy interventions in cancer care can offer numerous advantages, such as improved symptom control (especially pain), decreased use of pain medication, enhanced quality of life and spiritual wellbeing.
Studies have also discovered that people who had cancer or were receiving treatment were less likely to experience depression and anxiety than those without such a support system.
These findings suggest the potential advantages of music therapy in cancer care and warrant further exploration.
Studies have been conducted to explore the effects of music therapy on cancer patients, including several clinical trials.
Research on music therapy has mostly been conducted in hospital settings, though some has also looked into its effects in outpatient settings. The primary objective was to measure the influence of music therapy on various outcomes across curative and palliative care settings.
One of the primary outcomes studied was psychological well-being, measured through a self-report questionnaire. Results revealed that those in the MT group experienced greater improvements in their well-being score compared to the control group at the end of the study.
This study included 68 advanced cancer patients admitted to a palliative care unit. They were randomly assigned either standard care alone or with standard care plus music therapy (MT). The MT group received four sessions of music therapy.
Studies revealed that a single session of receptive music therapy with patient-selected live music significantly improved positive affect, mood state, pain and fatigue.
These studies focused on patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Unfortunately, this can be a trying time for patients as the side effects from these medications may cause them to feel stressed or anxious.
They may feel uncertain of the future. A music therapist can help ease these feelings by playing music that conveys messages of hope, love or peace.
Music therapy can also assist patients in managing grief and loss, which are integral parts of cancer treatment. The therapist uses music to help the patients process their emotions while giving them a platform to express them and share experiences.
Another advantage of music therapy is that it brings joy to patients and their families, especially during times when they may be feeling particularly low. Furthermore, music therapy helps patients and their loved ones manage the fear associated with receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Though more research is needed into the effects of music therapy on cancer patients, some studies have demonstrated its potential. These investigations were mostly conducted in the United States; however, music therapy services are available internationally as well.