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The Effectiveness of Music for Cancer Patients Report (Assessment)


Health issue in the study

Music therapy has been used in hospitals for a long time especially during surgery to help in reducing anxiety in patients (Shabanloei, Golchin, Esfahani, Dolatkhah, & Rasoulian, 2010). The treatment has so far gained popularity due to its recommendation by different medical experts. Medical professionals argue that music helps in fighting fear and depression amongst patients suffering from chronic diseases.

Significance of the study

The study is important since it aims at eliminating the doubts on whether music has a healing effect on cancerous patients. In the recent past, medical practitioners have differed on the effectiveness of music in reducing fear and anxiety among patients suffering from cancer. The study also forms the basis for future research on this controversial topic. The findings of the study may also be applied in clinical practice if music is found to have positive results.

Aim of the research

For many years, oncologists have argued that patients who undergo radiation treatment are at risk of suffering from stress and depression (Luckett et al., 2010). Oncologists also argue that music can help in reducing fear and stress. This essay is based on research carried out on a sample of patients undergoing radiation treatment in Taiwan. The samples were drawn from a cross section of patients requiring radiation treatment. Thus, the aim of this study is to determine the effect that music has on patients undergoing this kind of treatment based on the results of the aforementioned research.

Research design

The research was conducted at a hospital at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Taiwan where patients seeking radiation treatment were divided into two groups. The first group enjoyed a 15 minutes’ music session before commencement of the treatment while the other group never enjoyed such music and the patients were only left to rest waiting for the treatment. The patients’ levels of depression and anxiety were measured prior to and after the treatment and results were analysed accordingly. The study took a period of 6 months with the researchers engaging the patients in psychological interviews to determine their anxiety levels.

Study participants

The study examined all patients who needed radiation treatment. Patients who were 18 years and above and who were to receive a 5 weeks’ radiation treatment were allowed to participate in the study. Every participant was at liberty to rescind his/her earlier consent at any stage during the research for personal or other reasons (Chen, Wang, Shih, & Wu, 2013).

Inclusion/exclusion criteria

In a bid to qualify for inclusion, a patient had to have attained the age of the majority (18 years) with long-term cancer. The patient had to be of sound mind since the process of acquiring data involved filling in an open-ended questionnaire. The patient was also required to have at least 5-week radiation treatment before being allowed to participate in the exercise. Patients who were already diagnosed with anxiety previously or receiving depression treatments did not meet the inclusion criteria and they were thus excluded. As a common rule according to Hooks (2014), every participant was required to provide a written consent to the research team in order to qualify for inclusion. Earlier treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy were disregarded when selecting patients to participate in the study. The purpose of determining the inclusion and exclusion criteria in advance was mainly to target only the required group of patients.

Allocation of participants into groups

The participating patients were divided into two groups; the intervention group that enjoyed music prior to treatment and the control group that never enjoyed music before the commencement of treatment. Each group had 100 members. Patients allocated to the two groups were chosen at random and none of the patients recognised which group s/he belonged to since they were all kept waiting in a given room for 15 minutes before they were allowed into the treatment room. Choosing patients at random was inappropriate since the patients did not have the same type of cancer.

Treatment of the intervention and control group in the study

The two groups were equally tested for anxiety levels prior to the commencement of the treatment. Two professionals conducted the test with one being a clinical officer and the other a psychologist (Chen et al., 2013). The psychologist was charged with the responsibility of measuring the emotional conditions of the patients including blood pressure levels, palpitations, blood haemoglobin, and the respiratory rate. The intervention group was exposed to a 15 minutes’ music before treatment commenced. On the other hand, the control group was allowed to rest for 15 minutes without listening to music. A psychological test was conducted to all before and after the treatment irrespective of the group that a patient belonged. All the patients were expected to fill in personal information in a given form.

Independent and dependent variables in this study

In this study, music is the independent variable since the researchers are in a position to manipulate it independently of other factors that might affect the anxiety levels of patients. Anxiety on the other hand represents the dependent variable since it constitutes the outcome that is being measured.

Instruments used to collect the data

Data was collected through an open-ended questionnaire, which every participant was required to fill his/her personal information. The questionnaire was the main instrument used in the study though the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y was also invoked (Chen et al., 2013).

Data collection method

The team had an open-ended questionnaire prepared in advance and every participant was required to fill in his/her personal information. Data was collected in 200 patients all of which were undergoing radiation therapy.

Reliability concept

Reliability denotes the extent to which the results of findings accurately reflect the actual situation on the ground (Luckett et al., 2010). It is a measure of consistency and accuracy of the results of a finding. The results obtained in this study are reasonably reliable since previous studies have also shown similar results (Moradipanah, Mohammadi, & Mohammadil, 2009).

Validity concept

Validity refers to the extent to which a research tool measures what it was designed to measure with the results obtained not affected by other factors (Huang, Good & Zauszniewski, 2010). The study on the effectiveness of music therapy in reducing anxiety among patients had some degree of reliability, as at the end of the study, the desired results were obtained.

Differences in outcomes

There was a notable difference in the obtainable results. The group to which music was played had reduced palpitations and respiration rates compared to the control group, which is a clear indicator that music significantly reduced fear and anxiety. The results were in conformity with the results obtained in previous studies whereby music was credited with reducing fear among patients, which was noticeable through reduced heartbeats and respiration rates (Kwekkeboom, Cherwin, Lee, & Wanta, 2010).

Significance of the results

The results revealed that music plays a significant role in reducing depression in patients undergoing radiation therapy. The results are of great significance as they form the basis for future research and they can be used to mobilise nurses in hospitals to use music therapy in the treatment of cancer.

Generalisation of the results

The sample from which the data was collected was too small to produce the desired results. In my opinion, the study failed to compare data from different hospitals as the findings are only limited to one hospital. It would thus be wrong to generalise the outcomes and implement the findings thereof since the results do not reflect the actual results that would be obtained if the samples were drawn from patients from a cross section of medical centres as opposed to just one hospital. In addition, the research team did not recognise the fact that there are different types of cancer and the effects of music would thus produce different results in patients with different types of cancer. In this regard, the team treated all the patients equally regardless of the type of cancer that a patient was suffering.

The team also did not repeat the process to confirm the results obtained. Instead, the music was played just once per patient and the tests were carried out. The results would be more accurate if the process were repeated several times to ascertain the results (Nguyen, Nilsson, Hellström, & Bengtson, 2010). The results are thus not reliable and they cannot be implemented devoid of further research.

Implementation of the findings

The results of the findings revealed that music plays a significant role in reducing anxiety among patients. It relieves patients of fear and anxiety thus making the treatment more effective (Bradt, Dileo, Grocke, & Magill, 2011). Though the results of the findings face criticism due to the small samples used, nurses in hospitals can allow patients undergoing radiotherapy to enjoy a 15 minutes’ music before the actual treatment commences. Patients should also be encouraged to try music therapy anytime they feel depressed and before attending hospitals for treatment (Bulfone, Quattrin, Zanotti, Regattin, & Brusaferro, 2009).


Bradt, J., Dileo, C., Grocke, D., & Magill, L. (2011). Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients. Cochrane Database Systemic Reviews, 8, 1-98. Web.

Bulfone, T., Quattrin, R., Zanotti, R., Regattin, L., & Brusaferro, S. (2009). Effectiveness of music therapy for anxiety reduction in women with breast cancer in chemotherapy treatment. Holistic nursing practice, 23(4), 238-242. Web.

Chen, C., Wang, F., Shih, N., & Wu, J. (2013). Fifteen-minute music intervention reduces pre-radiotherapy anxiety in oncology patients. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 17(4), 436-441. Web.

Hooks, E. (2014). Effects of Music Intervention on the Patient’s Perception of Pain after Knee Replacement Surgery. Web.

Huang, T., Good, M., & Zauszniewski, J. A. (2010). The effectiveness of music in relieving pain in cancer patients: a randomised controlled trial. International journal of nursing studies, 47(11), 1354-1362. Web.

Kwekkeboom, L., Cherwin, H., Lee, W., & Wanta, B. (2010). Mind-body treatments for the pain-fatigue-sleep disturbance symptom cluster in persons with cancer. Journal of pain and symptom management, 39(1), 126-138. Web.

Luckett, T., Butow, N., King, T., Oguchi, M., Heading, G., Hackl, A.,… & Price, M. (2010). A review and recommendations for optimal outcome measures of anxiety, depression, and general distress in studies evaluating psychosocial interventions for English-speaking adults with heterogeneous cancer diagnoses. Supportive care in cancer, 18(10), 1241-1262. Web.

Moradipanah, F., Mohammadi, E., & Mohammadil, A. Z. (2009). Effect of music on anxiety, stress, and depression levels in patients undergoing coronary angiography. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 15(3), 693-47. Web.

Nguyen, N., Nilsson, S., Hellström, L., & Bengtson, A. (2010). Music therapy to reduce pain and anxiety in children with cancer undergoing lumbar puncture: a randomised clinical trial. Journal of Paediatric Oncology Nursing, 27(3), 146-155. Web.

Shabanloei, R., Golchin, M., Esfahani, A., Dolatkhah, R., & Rasoulian, M. (2010). Effects of music therapy on pain and anxiety in patients undergoing bone marrow biopsy and aspiration. AORN journal, 91(6), 746-751. Web.

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1. IvyPanda. "The Effectiveness of Music for Cancer Patients." May 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effectiveness-of-music-for-cancer-patients/.


IvyPanda. "The Effectiveness of Music for Cancer Patients." May 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effectiveness-of-music-for-cancer-patients/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "The Effectiveness of Music for Cancer Patients." May 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effectiveness-of-music-for-cancer-patients/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Effectiveness of Music for Cancer Patients'. 18 May.

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