, Volume 128, Issue 2, pp 411-419
Date: 03 May 2011

Effects of music therapy on pain among female breast cancer patients after radical mastectomy: results from a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Music therapy has been used in multiple health care settings to reduce patient pain, anxiety, and stress. However, few available studies have investigated its effect on pain among breast cancer patients after radical mastectomy. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of music therapy on pain reduction in patients with breast cancer after radical mastectomy. This randomized controlled trial was conducted at the Surgical Department of Oncology Center, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University from March to November 2009. A total of 120 breast cancer patients who received Personal Controlled Analgesia (PCA) following surgery (mastectomy) were randomly allocated to two groups, an intervention group and a control group (60 patients in each group). The intervention group accepted music therapy from the first day after radical mastectomy to the third admission to hospital for chemotherapy in addition to the routine nursing care, while the control group received only routine nursing care. Pain scores were measured at baseline and three post-tests using the General Questionnaire and Chinese version of Short-Form of McGill Pain Questionnaire. The primary endpoint was the change in the Pain Rating Index (PRI-total) score from baseline. Music therapy was found to reduce the PRI-total score in the intervention group significantly compared with the control group with a mean difference (95% CI) of −2.38 (−2.80, −1.95), −2.41 (−2.85, −1.96), and −1.87 (−2.33, −1.42) for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd post-tests, respectively. Similar results were found for Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and Present Pain Intensity (PPI) scores. The findings of the study provide some evidence that music therapy has both short- and long-term positive effects on alleviating pain in breast cancer patients following radical mastectomy.