Music: A holistic approach to symptom management for patients undergoing cancer treatment

Jordan Roberts, Samantha Horn, Elizabeth Aquino, Kim Amer


Background and objective: Patients undergoing chemotherapy carry a tremendous amount of psychological and physical burdens. The focus of care in the oncology setting should include a blend of pharmacological and holistic medicine to achieve desired health goals. This research includes a comprehensive review of music therapy as a vehicle to promote psychotherapeutic effects on patients receiving chemotherapy. This review serves to identify the positive outcomes of patients engaging in music therapy while receiving chemotherapy.

Methods: An integrative literature review was conducted. Articles published between 2007 and 2020 were identified searching the databases of CINAHL, PubMed, and ProQuest. Key words included music therapy, psychological, chemotherapy, depression, anxiety and cancer.

Results: Eight articles were reviewed that identified three emotional effects in relation to receiving chemotherapy: anxiety, depression and quality of life. The literature focused on how music therapy was used to improve these emotional states. The Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory- State Anxiety Scale and other standardized units were used to evaluate the positive effects of music therapy. These tools, which help standardize assessments, found noticeable psychosocial improvements.

Conclusions: Further studies are needed to conduct a more comprehensive use of music therapy in the healthcare setting. Inclusive literature should also be available as an alternative method of treatment to provide additional outlets for improvement of health outcomes. The information studied has already found promising results of music therapy on patients' psychological wellbeing while receiving chemotherapy.

Full Text:



Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.