Effects on Music Therapy and Breast Cancer Patients

“Breast cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer among women worldwide,” (Zhou, et. al., 2011). This study was based in China and the writers state how relevant breast cancer rates are in their country as well as in the western regions of the world. They state that the primary treatment for breast cancer is surgery among several other treatment options, and those can lead to negative side effects and unhealthy mood, such as depression. The prevalence rate of depression in China ranges from 3.0% to 47.6%, and in other countries it ranges from 34.4% to 89.5%. 

One tool to care for these patients is the use of music therapy, and the purpose of such is to “improve, maintain, remediate, or prevent one or more of the clinical issues in clients as specified in their needs for habilitation and rehabilitation” (Zhou, et. al., 2011). Some benefits stated in this article can include evoking positive emotions and memories, improving sense of self and mood, enhancing psychological wellbeing and decreasing psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and fear, etc.

Those included in this music therapy research were breast cancer patients that needed a radical mastectomy. There were 120 women included that were split into equal numbered experimental and control groups. Data was collected by a pre-test and three post-test questionnaires. 

The method of the music interventions were active music listening twice per day to patient preferred music; styles included Chinese classical folk music, famous world music, and music recommended by the American Association of Music Therapy. 

The results of this study showed that 30% of patients experienced depression, and with the support of music therapy, those receiving services had significant reduction to symptoms compared to the control group. It was also found that music therapy has satisfied long term therapeutic effects and improved the negative psychological state among patients. 

By Gwen D’Amico, MT-BC

Citation: Zhou, K. N., Li, X. M., Hong, Y., Dang, S. N., & Wang, D. L. (2011). Effects of music therapy on depression and duration of hospital stay of breast cancer patients after radical mastectomy. Chinese medical journal, 124(15), 2321-2327.