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Music helps young cancer patients to cope

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Taking part in music-based activities, such as playing handheld instruments or singing action songs, can help children with cancer to cope better, suggests a small US study.

Nurse researches studied around 80 cancer patients, aged between four and seven. They said those who participated in ‘active music engagement’ were more likely to smile or laugh, focus on activities, initiate comments and ask questions.

Music therapy can also help children deal with the stress associated with hospital treatment visits, said the researchers.

Report author Sheri Robb, oncology researcher at Indiana University’s school of nursing in Indianapolis, said: ‘The study supports the use of music-based activities to help hospitalised paediatric oncology patients.

‘[Children are] in a better mood, more involved, physically more active and are making decisions and choices. Based on coping research we know that these are good indicators of better coping,’ she added.

The study results will be published next year in the journal Psycho-Oncology.

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