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Wed, Oct 23, 2019 2:46 PM
Mon, Jun 24, 2019 6:06

Listening To Music May Help Ease Pain For Cancer Patients

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A recent study has found that listening to music at home may reduce cancer patients’ pain and fatigue.

A recent study has found that listening to music at home may reduce cancer patients’ pain and fatigue. The study is published in the European Journal of Cancer Care. The research, which was conducted in Taiwan, also discovered that music helps with symptoms like loss of appetite and difficulty in concentrating. The researchers recruited 60 breast cancer patients and randomly assigned half of them to a group that would listen to music at home on an MP3 player provided by the study team with a selection of classical, parlor, popular, Taiwanese and religious music to choose from. The other patients were also given a player and the same instructions about how often to listen, but their selections were various types of ambient music, mainly consisting of environmental sounds, which research has shown does little to reduce pain or symptoms, the study team notes.

At least 60 breast cancer patients were recruited for the study – half of them were selected at random to a group that would listen to music at home on MP3 players with a selection of classical, parlor, popular, Taiwanese and religious music to choose from. The other group was also given a player with the same instructions but different selection of music - environmental sounds, which study noted that research has shown does little to reduce pain or symptoms.

The researchers assigned breast cancer patients to 30 minutes of music listening five times a week. The results showed “noticeably”  reduced side effects of cancer and its treatment over 24 weeks. Patients said music distracted them from negative thoughts about cancer hence helping them with their physical and psychological wellbeing.

It followed women before the surgery, and after six, 12 and 24 weeks – all patients rated severity of 25 physical symptoms on a five-point scale, as well as rating five categories of fatigue on a separate five-point scale, and the level of pain they felt on a 100-point scale.

Results showed that the average symptom severity scores of the music therapy group had dropped by five points at the six-week assessment, seven points at 12 weeks and nearly nine points after 24 weeks. Pain scores and overall fatigue scores fell at each assessment as well. The physical and mental fatigue also dropped for those listening to music six weeks but not later.

On the other hand, pain and symptoms severity scores in the control group increased or remained higher than at the beginning of the trial. The finding says that although music therapy may not relive long-term physical and mental fatigue.

Senior study author Kuei-Ru Chou of the Taipei Medical University says that “music therapy is convenient, does not involve invasive procedures, and can easily be used by people in the comfort of their homes.”

“Home-based music interventions can also be used with no cost. Healthcare services have become expensive in the present time,” he added.

“From the neurophysiological point of view,” said Tereza Alcantara-Silva of the Federal University of Goias in Brazil, music-evoked emotions can modulate activity in a variety of brain areas. “Music plays a major role in self-regulation of emotional contexts,” said Alcantara-Silva, who wasn’t involved in the study, by email. “Music therapy can bring several benefits to cancer patients, helping them to find ways to deal with stress, fear, and loneliness.”