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Clinical Services: Adult through Geriatric


Image: Louis Armstrong

About Oncology
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cancer is the second leading cause of death among Americans, with over 1.3 million new diagnoses of cancer in 2005 and over 10 million Americans who have a history of cancer. In facing cancer, patients and families are often exposed to difficult challenges and may undergo painful changes. Issues associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment may include pain, physical changes, treatment side-effects and end-of life considerations among others. In addition, a diagnosis of cancer can be particularly stressful and can deepen a state of anxiety associated with vulnerability, isolation, depression, feelings of grief and loss, poor body image, loss of confidence, thoughts about death, and uncertainty about the future.

Music Therapy in Oncology
Music therapy can support the physical and psychosocial needs of patients and families who are dealing with cancer. Music therapy may be offered to alleviate pain, ease treatment side-effects, support immune system functioning, enhance coping and reduce physical and emotional stress. Music therapists with advanced training in music psychotherapy techniques provide individual bedside sessions that are tailored to each patient's need and preferences. Support group sessions including family and staff promote an “at home” feel as well as a warm, pleasant and welcoming hospital atmosphere. Sessions may include live improvisation, drumming, toning, guided visualization, song writing, song sensitation, song for life-review, music meditation, and sedation. Clinical Services currently available in Oncology can include a range of experiences:

  • Individual sessions are used to provide the patients with an increasing sense of self, support integration and stimulate self-expression that may decrease anxiety and depression when coping with hospitalization.
  • Music therapists may accompany patients to procedures in various areas of the hospital, including the operating room, endoscopy, and chemotherapy.
  • Pre- and post-operative sessions are offered to ease pain, promote self-healing and recuperation, and reduce stress and tension.
  • The bi-weekly sessions for nurses and caregivers on the unit provide a safe and supportive space for them to share their experiences in working with this population as well as cope with the intense emotional aspects of their daily work.
  • Environmental Music Therapy (EMT) is offered to create a relaxed, less stressful environment.

Related Research and Articles
For articles from peer-reviewed journals, research studies and authoritative literature, please see the bibliographies in the Suggested Reading section. Additional information is available through websites listed on the Related Links page.

For Questions and Further Information
For questions and further information about music therapy or referrals for yourself, your loved ones or your patients, please call 212-420-2704 or email info@musicandmedicine.org .

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