Study Shows Music Eases Pain and Other Symptoms for Patients Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment

We all know that the music we love is capable of making us feel better, but did you know it could actually relieve physical symptoms of pain and discomfort?

That’s right! According to a new study conducted on breast cancer patients, music is actually able to make people feel less pain, anxiety, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with breast cancer and breast cancer treatment.

For their study, which was published in the European Journal of Cancer Care, researchers followed 60 participants who listened to music in five 30-minute increments per week at their homes. They interviewed the participants after six, 12, and 24 weeks.

Participants reported reduced symptom severity, pain intensity, and fatigue. What’s truly interesting, however, is that the effects were both immediate and long-lasting. Patients experienced an immediate reduction in mental and physical fatigue while listening to music but also had less pain and fatigue overall, even when they weren’t listening to music.

“Using music can support patients’ physical and psychological well-being,” said senior author Kuei-Ru Chou, Ph.D., RN, of Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University.

On top of the physical fatigue, pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with typical breast cancer treatments, breast cancer patients often deal with depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental and emotional issues stemming from breast cancer and related courses of treatment. The new findings on music’s immediate and long-term effects on patients could contribute to better holistic outcomes for people with cancer.

The authors of the study suggest implementing home music interventions for breast cancer patients experiencing negative emotions surrounding their medical condition.

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?