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Clinician Article

Effectiveness of music intervention in ameliorating cancer patients' anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue: a meta-analysis.



  • Tsai HF
  • Chen YR
  • Chung MH
  • Liao YM
  • Chi MJ
  • Chang CC, et al.
Cancer Nurs. 2014 Nov-Dec;37(6):E35-50. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000116. (Review)
PMID: 24662723
Read abstract Read evidence summary
Disciplines
  • Oncology - Palliative and Supportive Care
    Relevance - 6/7
    Newsworthiness - 6/7
  • Oncology - Gastrointestinal
    Relevance - 6/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Internal Medicine
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Oncology - General
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Oncology - Genitourinary
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Oncology - Gynecology
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Oncology - Lung
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Oncology - Pediatric
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Oncology - Radiation
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 4/7
  • General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 4/7
  • Oncology - Hematology
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 4/7
  • Oncology - Breast
    Relevance - 4/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7

Abstract

BACKGROUND: This is the first study to use meta-analysis as a scientific technique to provide an integrated analysis of the effectiveness of music intervention in cancer patients.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was, using the meta-analysis method, to present a summary of existing research and explore the effectiveness of music intervention in ameliorating anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue in cancer patients.

METHODS: The present study collected quantitative study designs sought of music intervention for cancer patients published from 2002 to 2012. These studies were then cross-referenced using Medical Subject Headings for topics on music intervention and cancer patients. Outcome indicators were anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue. The quality of the studies was evaluated using Cochrane Collaboration Guidelines. The effect size on outcome indicators used the formula devised by Hedges and Olkin (1985).

RESULTS: Results showed that music interventions were significantly effective in ameliorating anxiety (g = -0.553), depression (g = -0.510), pain (g = -0.656), and fatigue (g = -0.422) in cancer patients. Subgroup analyses revealed that age and who selected the music were major factors influencing the effect size on anxiety reduction.

CONCLUSIONS: Music interventions significantly ameliorate anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue in cancer patients, especially adults. Music interventions were more effective in adults than in children or adolescents and more effective when patients, rather than researchers, chose the music.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Our findings provide important information for future music-intervention planners to improve the design and processes that will benefit patients in such programs.


Clinical Comments

Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)

It's wonderful to have an effective, non-pharmacologic treatment to mitigate the suffering of patients with cancer. Music can lift the spirits of the sick and the well.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)

Very interesting and quite a cool study.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)

Given the central importance of maximizing comfort in patients with advanced cancer, the findings of this meta-analysis of a surprising number of comparative trials warrants consideration and application.

Internal Medicine

Well done meta-analysis of a topic that is very likely to be unfamiliar to most practicing clinicians. The effect sizes are generally consistent and, given the challenges in providing care to cancer patients, suggest that music therapy is an intervention that should be considered.

Internal Medicine

Newsworthy, clinically relevant? Advice music? Wouldn't be talking or friends more relevant/important? But is this medical help? It's rather common sense and human.

Oncology - Breast

This is a meta-analysis of an interesting topic, but it does not go much beyond the statistical analysis. Very abbreviated discussion, particularly around study limitations (4 sentences only!), no mention of publication bias, method heterogeneity, or areas not studied or deserving of further research, etc.

Oncology - Breast

Well conducted meta-analysis showing benefit in music therapy in patients with cancer. This should now be offered as a form of therapy for patients.

Oncology - General

In my opinion, the key finding here is that music therapy works best if patients choose the type of music they want to hear. Music is very personal. The results intuitively make sense.

Oncology - General

Nice work. I wouldn`t have guessed there were 21 RCTs of music interventions for people with cancer.

Oncology - Gynecology

Methodological differences across populations limit applicability to specific individuals.

Oncology - Hematology

Music therapy is not widely used. It seems to be effective.

Oncology - Hematology

Interesting association between music and decreased anxiety. Poses an opportunity to improve outcomes with a relatively easy intervention.

Oncology - Lung

The conclusion that music therapy improves anxiety, pain, fatigue, and depression among patients with cancer provides oncologists with an evidence-based option to manage these symptoms.

Oncology - Palliative and Supportive Care

Nice to see a quantitative analysis of a noninvasive intervention that would be assumed to be helpful.

Oncology - Palliative and Supportive Care

A nice meta-analysis of music therapy. The biggest problem is the limited number of studies, their relatively low quality, the problem of the passivity of the intervention, and concerns about the control. Still, this is something that most palliative care programs should consider as part of their CAM treatments.

Oncology - Radiation

I think I could have predicted the analyis. We know that music and lighting are useful adjunts to make environment calmer. It is hardly groundbreaking and supports one's intuitive feeling.

Oncology - Radiation

As an oncologist, I will work towards introducing this technique for patient care.

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