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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Music Can Help Cancer Patients

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By Stacy Simon

Many people find listening to music relaxing, soothing, and enjoyable. For cancer patients, it also can be a way to cope with some of the symptoms of their disease and side effects of their treatment. New research supports listening to recorded music, as well as music therapy, to improve anxiety, pain, mood, quality of life, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure in cancer patients.

Researchers from Drexel University reviewed 30 trials with a total of 1,891 participants. They included music therapy sessions with a trained music therapist and recorded music played by medical staff. Selections included relaxing music in categories that included classical, jazz, folk, rock, country and western, easy listening, new age, big band, Spanish and religious. The researchers were able to scientifically measure a significant improvement in anxiety and mood. They were also able to measure small improvements in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and pain.

Researchers did not have enough information to tell them whether music therapy or listening to recorded music was more effective. But they found that either technique improved cancer patients’ quality of life.

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