The Effectiveness of Music Therapy for Patients With Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


Journal of Advanced Nursing




AIMS: To assess the effectiveness of music therapy on the quality of life, anxiety, depression and pain of patients with cancer. DESIGN: Systematic review. DATA SOURCES: Five electronic databases were searched in September 2018 for randomized controlled trials evaluating music therapy for patients with cancer. REVIEW METHODS: The quality of the studies was assessed using the risk of bias tool recommended by the Cochrane Handbook Version 5.1.0 and the Revman version 5.3 software was used to perform the meta-analysis. The outcomes were overall quality of life, anxiety, depression and pain. RESULTS: A total of 19 trials evaluating 1,548 patients were included in this study, of which 765 were in the control group and 783 in the experimental group. Compared with standard care, music therapy can significantly increase the score of the overall quality of life in patients with cancer. In addition, music therapy was found to be more effective for decreasing the score of anxiety, depression and pain. CONCLUSION: Music therapy can improve the overall quality of life of patients with cancer, with an observed optimal intervention duration of 1-2 months. Meanwhile, anxiety, depression and pain are improved as well. Nevertheless, high-quality trials are still needed to further determine the effects of music intervention in supportive cancer care.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Cancer; Depression; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Quality of Life; Recorded Music Listening

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Anxiety Disorders; Neoplasms; Quality of Life; Stress; cancer; nursing; pain; quality of life; supportive care; systematic review

Study Type

Quantitative Methods; Systematic Review

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