Does music limit anxiety in cancer?

Music may be able to play a role in reducing anxiety in cancer patients, a new study has suggested. The research, led by Joke Bradt of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University in Philadelphia - founded in 1891 - showed such people may benefit from listening to songs or taking part in sessions with trained music therapists.

Based on clinical scores, the investigation revealed music-related treatments significantly reduced anxiety levels when compared with standard techniques, while evidence also indicated music can prove beneficial for mood and pain.

Mr Bradt noted the review showed both interventions by trained music therapists and listening to pre-recorded songs can have positive outcomes for cancer patients, adding: "The evidence suggests that music interventions may be useful as a complementary treatment to people with cancer."

The investigators noted, however, that further trials on the subject could provide additional evidence to find out how music impacts on aspects such as body image and distress.

Margaret Searle, Chartered Psychologist, said: "We have much to discover about the role of sensory treatments in physical illness.

"The power of music may lie in its ability to induce altered emotional states via rapid pathways without the requirement of verbal processing which is inherent in talking treatments for anxiety and low mood."