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Music Therapy Soothes Breast Cancer Patients

Pump up the Mozart and dial down the pain.

Breast cancer treatment can be miserable—doctors cut you up, fill you with toxins, and radiate you. It’s physically and mentally grueling, and it can exhaust patients for months, even years, after treatment ends. Surgery and radiation can leave permanent pain.

Listening to music at home can help. Just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce the severity of symptoms, the intensity of pain, and fatigue, according to research in the European Journal of Cancer Care. Researchers studied participants at 6, 12, and 24-week intervals, and found the effects of music therapy were immediate and significant. Perhaps most importantly, music reduced mental and emotional fatigue. The authors of the study suggest that music helps reduce negative thoughts, which can have psychological as well as physical effects.

"Using music can support patients' physical and psychological well-being," said senior author Kuei-Ru Chou, PhD, RN, of Taipei Medical University, in Taiwan.

Previous studies have also shown the importance of music to cancer patients.