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Many women all over the world have been known to be victims of breast cancer. The seriousness of the disease is known to surpass many diseases known in the history of man. Various remedies have however been sought following advancement in technology. Women suffering from breast cancer are mostly treated with chemotherapy. However, according to Lesiuk, (2015), chemotherapy is known to impact negatively on the cognitive function of women such that factors such as working memory as well as attention are reduced. The grey matter in such patients is also said to undergo a reduction in the process of subsequent radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Nonetheless, mindfulness-based music therapy has proved to be a potential remedy by alleviating the negative effects of the treatment and slowly improving the affected cognitive abilities. A pilot study was carried out with an aim of determining how MBMT impacts on the attention of breast cancer patients subjected to the treatment.
The pilot study explores how MBMT can be employed as an effective tool to reduce attention-related problems as well as mood distress that results from the chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. According to Patel, et al. (2015) women who are undergoing this type of treatment are associated with chemobrain condition which refers to the neurocognitive deficit. A study on chemotherapy treatment effects on women suffering from breast cancer indicated reduced visual and verbal processing as well as the reduced speed of info processing as well as other critical psychomotor abilities. The treatment is also associated with a reduction of other cognitive abilities (Reuter & Cimprich, 2013). Brain imaging techniques indicated that the grey matter in patients that have undergone the treatment significantly reduces. The changes in the grey matter were however not observed in the breast cancer patients who have not undergone chemotherapy treatment. Patients always report poor memory retention as well as fatigue which is the most disruptive complaint. These complain are part of the concern for healthcare providers
The study intended to investigating the impact of MBMT on specific moods of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment as well as the effect of the same on the attention of the participant, the aims were subject to measure by POMS-BF and CPT II, version 5 consecutively. The design used was descriptive and longitudinal and at the baseline, there was a collection of demographic info. 8 subscales were used in attention measuring at two points in time where the first measurement was made at the baseline and the second after completion of the study. POMS-BF was used in the measurement of the mood at the beginning and the end of every weekly session. The theme of every MBMT session differed every week and the study was conducted according to the theme of the week. A participant’s research approval was provided by Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center; a branch of University of Miami. The University also individually provided the approval. The program ran for four weeks and the participants received a one-hour individualized MBMT session carried out in a cozy music room in the university. Also, there was the administration of homework in every session which involved written reflection and mindfulness attitude matching the weekly theme as well as a music listening exercise all which lasted for 15-20 minutes.
A different music CD created by the author was provided to the participants every week and then the POMS-BF administered immediately prior to and after the session in order to measure their mood. To measure attention, the CPT-II was administered at the beginning of the initial session consecutively to the fourth session and all the participants completed the four weeks MBMT sessions. According to Stew, (2011), Graham’s traditional focus on the breath was foregone and the participants underwent a 5-7 minutes advice to focus on the sound and music rather than the breath. However, the MBMT program is highly detailed involves lengthy descriptions surpassing the findings as explained here. The program was also administered to a small number of people. Nonetheless, it involved detailed participants info which was used to assess the progress of the 4 weeks program administration which was associated with the results obtained. It was also administered individually rather than in a group thus every participant’s response was measured and evaluated accordingly. Despite the program being detailed, the methods used were not sophisticated which makes it easy to understand.
Fifteen female participants were involved in the study. The inclusion criteria involved those that were fluent in English as well as women suffering from breast cancer in their first to third stages of the disease and undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Those with prior cognitive impairments were excluded. However, the 15 participants used were not adequate for the study. This is because different people respond differently to chemotherapy treatment as well as MBMT program. These disparities can only be identified when a large sample size with different characteristics is used. In this case, the results obtained were general. Also, people at different stages of cancer might as well respond differently to chemotherapy treatment as well as the MBMT program.
The researchers and clinic nurses who explained the researcher’s MBMT program details to the 15 participants were involved in the study. The researcher then employed a descriptive and longitudinal design of study where the POMS-BF and the CCPT II, version 5 were used to measure the participant’s mood and attention consecutively. Eight subscales were also used to measure attention. Various music CDs were provided to the participants according to the program’s requirements. The nurses at the hospital employed ethics when they took time to explain the purpose of the program and its content and also only made use of the willing participants rather than making everyone who fits in to participate. The program also made use of a schedule so that the participants can find the time to engage in it. Nonetheless, placing all the participants in the music room could make some uncomfortable since they would feel that their privacy has been jeopardized. Also, the researcher authored the music CDs that were provided to the participants without considering how the participants feel about the type of the music they never chose. Some might be uncomfortable with the music on the provided CDs.
The MBMT program was just a pilot study and the limitations identified can be used to improve it in order to reach a level where it can be used as a remedy for the stated problem. The study did not consider the home and work life stress of the patients as well as all the stages of cancer. This study made use of only a small number of participants who cannot represent the response of the general population. The number of cycles of chemotherapy treatment and the element of time was not considered which might affect the results. The program was only administered individually and all aspects of study such as employing it in a group were never considered. The time that each individual spent on the program also varied which led to a lot of average. Future research can involve making use of more participants with all stages of cancer and home and work life stress being considered to minimize generalization. Also, considering the cycles of chemotherapy is necessary in order to be aware of the differences that may exist in the results obtained from each individual. The time that each participant spends in the program should also be made equal to reduce errors. Also, checking the results of the same in a group is also necessary for comparison so that when all the factors are considered, the most precise results can be obtained.
Statistically, it was found out that the type of theme of each session did not vary the mood of each individual on each subscale. However, mood change was observed in each subscale across all the sessions (F [5, 65] = 20.83, p < 0.001). The mood states of all the participants improved across the sessions to the end. Fatigue was also said to have significantly reduced compared to other negative mood states. The pilot study is therefore said to have enhanced attention over time which coincides with the findings of Chiesa & Serretti, (2009). Music making and passive music listening were also identified as a good way to capture attention. Generally, the MBMT program was successful in improving the negative mood thus reducing anger, depression, tension, fatigue and confusion in women suffering from breast cancer and undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy treatment (Pinto & Trunzo, 2005). Additionally, activity and vigour of the participants were improved. After the program, the participants reported that they were able to have better sleep, have reduced stress and feel relaxed which creates the essence of mood alterations through the use of MBMT intervention (Trondalen & Bonde, 2012). The findings, though not fully, fall under above average credibility since the study was conducted on the right participants, appropriate tools were used and the findings statistically analyzed to produce the results. Also, all the rules of conducting a research were followed. The findings therefore fully answered the research question
A pilot study involving a Mindfulness Music Based Therapy was carried out to investigate the effect of the therapy on women suffering from breast cancer and undergoing Chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy treatment is said to have a negative impact on the cognitive ability of such patients. However, the research proved to be far more resourceful since the participants in the study indicated reduced stress, reduced fatigue and anger as well as improved concentration and vigour after undergoing the program. If more research can be done ( equating the time the participants use in the program, carrying the same research in a group rather than individuals, using a large number of participants and taking into account the cycles of chemotherapy treatment of the participants as well as their home and work stress) and the factors considered lead to the same results as those obtained in this pilot study, then the practice can be implemented and integrated into the system of improving the cognitive abilities of women suffering from breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Nonetheless, MBMT proves to be a potential remedy to the reduced cognitive functions on women suffering from breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment
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