Listening to Music during Chemotherapy

Last Modified: July 22, 2011

OncoLink Cancer FAQ

Just wondering if listening to music during chemo infusions is considered music therapy - or does it need to be something formal?

OncoLink Cancer FAQ

Tony Meadows PhD MT-BC FAMI LPC is Director of Music Therapy at Immaculata University and Music Therapist at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, responds:

Using music during chemo is, for you, no doubt, very therapeutic. And in this way, I would call it a therapeutic use of music. In order for a music based intervention to be considered music therapy, it needs to involve a board certified music therapist, a music experience, a therapeutic goal, and a therapeutic process.

Cheryl Dileo from Temple University suggested the term "music-medicine" to cover all those music-based experiences in medicine that do not involve a music therapist - for example, a nurse offering a patient a music and imagery CD to listen to prior to surgery to help reduce anxiety.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See full archive of IntegrativeTherapies in Cancer Care.