Music helps young cancer patients heal better

New York, Jan 27 (IANS): Can soothing music help cancer patients cope better? It can, says new research.

Adolescents and young adults undergoing cancer treatment gain coping skills and resilience-related outcomes when they participate in a therapeutic music process that includes writing song lyrics and producing videos.

The findings, published in the journal Cancer, indicate that such music therapy interventions can provide essential psycho-social support to help young patients positively adjust to cancer.

A team led by Joan E. Haase from University of Minnesota and Sheri L. Robb from Indiana University in the US tested a music therapy intervention designed to improve resilience in such patients undergoing stem cell transplant treatments for cancer.

For the study, 113 patients - aged 11 to 24 years - who were undergoing stem cell transplant treatments for cancer were randomised to be part of a therapeutic music video intervention group or to be part of a control group that received audio books.

Participants completed six sessions over three weeks.

After the intervention, the therapeutic music video group reported significantly better resilience.

What helped them cope better was protective factors like spiritual beliefs and practices, a strong family environment, positive communication and support from friends and health care providers.

"These protective factors influence the ways adolescents and young adults cope, gain hope and find meaning in the midst of their cancer journey," said Haase.

"Adolescents and young adults who are resilient have the ability to rise above their illness, gain a sense of mastery and confidence in how they have dealt with their cancer, and demonstrate a desire to reach out and help others," he added.

The findings provide evidence supporting the use of a music-based intervention delivered by a music therapist to help adolescents and young adults positively cope with high-risk, high-intensity cancer treatments.



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