Music and cancer: The connection

Written by Community Health Network on 2/4/2014 7:30:00 PM

Singer-songwriter Mallary Hope wrote the song “My Day” in 2009, on a day when she was disheartened by her lackluster music career. At the time, she envisioned the song as part of music video for Relay for Life, Avon Breast Cancer Walkers or Special Olympics. Fast-forward to 2013, and the song is actually a part of the Sochi Olympics. “My Day” was chosen to be a part of NBC’s 2014 Winter Olympic advertising campaign. Singing the song now is Danielle Bradbery, teen country singer and season four winner of “The Voice.”

Whether you are fighting cancer or fighting for a place on the U.S. Olympic team, this anthem is filled with adrenaline and courage. And it’s this feeling of emotion when listening to a song that is said to help cancer patients.

According to MD Anderson Cancer Network™, music therapy designed with imagery and relaxation in mind, can help cancer patients in the following ways:

  • Promote wellness
  • Manage stress
  • Alleviate pain
  • Express feeling
  • Enhance memory
  • Improve communication
  • Promote physical rehabilitation

Based on research at MD Anderson, it was determined that specific musical elements as they relate to music provide the relaxation benefits listed above. Some of those musical elements include melody, harmonic progression and tempo. To listen to samples of songs used in music therapy, visit the MD Anderson website. They have six free music downloads from their music therapy program that promote relaxation.

We also suggest listening to an inspirational song written by an MD Anderson associate professor in the Melanoma (skin cancer) Medical Oncology Department, Greg Lizee, Ph.D. Dedicated to cancer survivors, cancer patients and cancer caregivers, it has a simple message for cancer patients: Hope. 

Source: Interview with Mallary Hope,

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Community first healthcare organization in the nation to be certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network®

Community Health Network is the first healthcare organization to achieve system-wide recognition by MD Anderson Cancer Network® as a certified member. The five hospital locations providing qualified cancer services in the network have met the rigorous standards to treat cancer patients with MD Anderson evidence-based guidelines and best practices. Learn more.