Bradt is an associate professor in the creative arts therapies department, whose clinical work has focused on the use of vocal/instrumental improvisation and songwriting.
Listening to music can reduce anxiety in cancer patients and may also have positive effects on mood, pain and quality of life, according to a Cochrane systematic review led by Joke Bradt, an associate professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
Music and music therapy are used in a wide range of clinical settings—treatments range from patients listening to pre-recorded music, to music therapists engaging patients in music experiences to improve psychological and physical well-being. In their review, researchers focused on trials with patients with cancer who were offered music or music therapy sessions.
The researchers analyzed evidence from 1,891 patients taking part in 30 trials. Thirteen trials used trained music therapists, while in the remaining 17 trials, patients listened to pre-recorded music. The length and frequency patients participated in music sessions varied greatly among trials.
The results show that, compared to standard treatments, music considerably reduced anxiety based on clinical anxiety scores. While some trials reported more beneficial effects than others, the results also suggest that music therapy may increase patients’ quality of life.
“The evidence suggests that music interventions may be useful as a complementary treatment to people with cancer,” Bradt says. “Music interventions provided by trained music therapists as well as listening to pre-recorded music both have shown positive outcomes in this review.”