Music Therapy To Combat Stress For Cancer Patients

A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming in so many aspects.

Staying positive and relaxed during treatment is a tremendous chore, but a hospital in New York is using music therapy to help patients’ combat stress.

"I'm going to invite you to focus on the sound of the instrument for a bit, yes close your eyes,” said Andrew Rossetti of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital.

After a frightening breast cancer diagnosis at 43, Julia Newmark was overwhelmed with anxiety and suffered from insomnia.

She turned to music therapy during radiation for relief.

"You worry about the future you can't stop your thoughts they start to escalate," said Newmark.

With a young daughter at home the fear of not surviving was debilitating.

“He taught me how to relax while I was having the music therapy and to remember those techniques when I was home," said Newmark.

"How stressful is it for patients when they come into this radiation room,” said Meg Oliver.

“For many patients very stressful," said Rossetti.

In the first study of its kind in a hard science journal, Mount Sinai Beth Israel music coordinator Andrew Rosetti researched the benefits of music therapy for cancer patients.

"Created an intervention that uses music and verbal processing to lower anxiety and to lower distress," said Rossetti.

From classical to hard rock they personalize the play list for each patient.

They found it worked so well before and during treatment patients saw their stress and anxiety drop by at least 20%.

"Now I feel like a child that is allowed to play...laugh...laugh," said Newmark.

Today Julia is cancer free but continues the therapy once a week for relaxation.

"It helped me so much through one of the worst moments in my life now helping me with other important aspects of what I want to do," Newmark.

Staying healthy is at the top of that list.