We’ve all heard that “music soothes the savage beast,” but is there a chance that it can also reduce the suffering endured by mesothelioma patients and others diagnosed with cancer? Thats what researchers in Taiwan have concluded after a groundbreaking study. Scientists from Taipei Medical University found that cancer patients who had been instructed to listen to 30 minutes of music five times a week in their homes had a noticeable reduction in the most common side effects associated with cancer and its treatment.
Cancer patients saw noticeable reduction in pain after listening to music
The participants in the study were not mesothelioma patients: rather they had all been diagnosed with breast cancer. However, the study’s authors believe that their findings will be applicable to all types of cancer patients suffering from fatigue, pain, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating. Writing in the European Journal of Cancer Care, they explained that the study revealed a noticeable reduction in the patients’ symptoms over a period of 24 weeks, and that the patients indicated that they believed that the music had allowed them to separate themselves from their depression and negative thoughts about their disease, resulting in improvements in both their mindset and the way that they felt.
Mesothelioma patients can easily use music therapy at home
One of the biggest advantages of the study is in its ease of application for mesothelioma patients and others. As senior study author Kuei-Ru Chou explained, “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 at the present time.”
The study should have particular relevance for mesothelioma patients undergoing surgery, as the women who were recruited had all undergone surgery prior to participating. They were provided with an MP3 player and half were given a selection of different types of music to listen to, while the other half were given ambient environmental sounds to listen to. The groups were then asked to rate various physical symptoms on a 5-point scale after six, 12 and 24 weeks of listening. The group that had the music all showed significant reductions in average symptom severity scores, though not in physical and mental fatigue: their other scores dropped more the longer they listened, while the group given the environmental sounds experienced increased pain and symptom severity. The researchers believe that the group was able to find relief because listening to music promotes the production of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These emotions counter negative thoughts and anxiety. They also believe that music can provide relief from muscle tension and pain because of its affects on the body’s various systems. Speaking of the results, Tereza Alcantara-Silva of the Federal University of Goias in Brazil, explained, “Music plays a major role in the self-regulation of emotional contexts. Music therapy can bring several benefits to cancer patients, helping them to find ways to deal with stress, fear, and loneliness.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the results of this study give you an opportunity to provide relief on your own, and in your own home. For other resources near and far, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.