A team of scientists announced Wednesday they have found significant evidence music can be an important tool for alleviating anxiety, pain and fatigue in cancer patients.
Although the study doesn't link music to actually treating cancer, listening to music does seem to significantly help with reducing many of the disease's most debilitating symptoms. In fact, many patients claimed music intervention, where patients listen to music provided by a doctor, nurse or therapist, is a moderate-to-strong reliever of anxiety.
The study was published in the journal Cochrane Library by researchers from Drexel University in Pennsylvania.
"We found that music therapy interventions specifically help improve patients' quality of life," study leader Joke Bradt said in a statement. "These are important findings as these outcomes play an important role in patients' overall well-being."
The study examined more than 52 trials where music therapy was utilized with 3,731 cancer patients involved. Bradt and her team found music could be a viable replacement for some of the large amount of drugs used by many cancer patients, all without the risk of addiction and potentially dangerous side effects.
"The results of single studies suggest that music listening may reduce the need for anesthetics and analgesics, as well as decreased recovery time and duration of hospitalization, but more research is needed for these outcomes," the Drexel team noted in the study.
Not only did music have specific benefits for the health of patients, including reducing heart rates and blood pressure, the researchers found it improved their qualities of lives.
"We hope that the findings of this review will encourage health care providers in medical settings to seriously consider the use of music therapy in the psychosocial care of people with cancer," Bradt said.