Words to know that are important, all referring to music therapy as it applies to cancer patients…

From Cancer Research UK: One of the main reasons people with cancer use music therapy is because it makes them feel good. Many of us know how calming and relaxing it can be to listen to a favourite piece of music. It can help people with cancer to cope with side effects such as pain, anxiety, depression and sickness. Music therapy can be a safe place for people to explore fear, anxiety, anger and the range of emotional responses to living with cancer. Some studies show that music therapy can help children with cancer to cope by encouraging them to cooperate and communicate.

From the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health: There are many benefits of music therapy for cancer patients—interactive music therapy techniques (instrumental improvisation, singing) as well as receptive music therapy techniques (listening to recorded or live music, music and imaginary) can be used to improve mood, decrease stress, pain, anxiety level and enhance relaxation. Music therapy is an effective form of supporting cancer care for patients during the treatment process. It may be also basic for planning effective programs of rehabilitation to promote wellness, improve physical and emotional well-being and the quality of life.

From the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas: When used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments, music therapy has been found to help reduce pain and discomfort; improve mood and diminish stress; increase quality of life; and allow patients to better communicate their fears, sadness or other feelings…studies have shown that group singing improves mood, coping strategies and pain management, and has other health benefits.

From Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York: Music therapy may help alleviate symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments as well. Data from a retrospective analysis suggest a positive association between music therapy and decreased breathing problems in cancer patients receiving hospice care. Music also reduced mood disturbance and improved coping and social integration in cancer patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation, a procedure known to cause significant psychological distress. In patients with newly diagnosed head and neck or breast cancer, music therapy significantly relieved anxiety and distress during simulated radiation therapy. Other data also indicate that music alleviates pain and anxiety in breast cancer patients, in those receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and improves the quality of life in people with terminal cancer. Music also reduces pain and anxiety, and increases comfort in hospitalized children with cancer.

Yeah, it really is a big deal. We keep saying that music is good for you and science agrees. Two thumbs up.