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Music Therapy Can Speed Recovery Time in Mesothelioma Patients Undergoing Surgery

Surgery is one of the treatment options for mesothelioma patients. However, it often comes with significant pain and an extended recovery.  Now, researchers report that music therapy can be used with surgical patients to help reduce both pain and recovery time.

According to a study from the University of Kentucky, patients who were exposed to music prior to surgery, during surgery and after surgery were “less anxious before the procedure and recovered more quickly and satisfactorily after by being exposed to music intra- and post-operation.” In addition, the patients also “required less sedative medication and reported better satisfaction with their medical experience.”

Doctors and researchers have found that finding ways to reduce stress for mesothelioma patients can help them recover faster and have a better quality of life while undergoing treatments. Many doctors have become more supportive of holistic care and alternative therapies that focus on improving the emotional well-being of mesothelioma patients.  Some suggest meditation, yoga and reflexology as ways to reduce stress.  According to Carol Celeste, personal essay and memoir writing coach, therapeutic writing is another way to reduce stress in patients.

Patients with pleural mesothelioma, a pulmonary cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, often have two surgical options: extrapleural pneumonectomy, a radical procedure that involves removal of a lung, the diseased lining of the chest cavity and heart, and a portion of the diaphragm; or pleurectomy/decortication, which strips away the diseased membrane lining the lung and visible mesothelioma tumors but spares the lung. Both options are extremely painful.

“Our goal is to decrease patient pain and anxiety as well as improve satisfaction with the surgical experience,” said Lori Gooding, UK director of music therapy and lead author. “We also hope the program benefits staff by allowing them to do their jobs more easily and effectively.”

The researchers report that the “characteristics” of the selected music is important. The tempo, rhythm and volume should all be considered and controlled to “maximize the positive effect that music can have.” They found that calm, slow, gentle music was the most beneficial for inducing relaxation and pain reduction.

The results of the study were published in November in the Southern Medical Journal.

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Nancy Meredith is a blog and web content writer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the Information Technology industry. She has been writing about Mesothelioma for 4 years. Follow Nancy on Google+