I've loved to sing as long as I can remember. My father and maternal grandfather sang in a barbershop quartet, and somehow found a way to feature a little girl - me - in many of their performances.
If you have childhood memories that have grown to epic proportions in your mind over the years as well, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that singing - yes, singing - may help people cope with cancer.
Researchers looked at a small group of cancer survivors who participated in choir singing for a period of 3 months. During that period survivors noted an improvement in:
- Social functioning
- Mental health, and
- Bodily pain
Survivors who participated also had a trend toward less anxiety and depression and improved lung function.
In the U.K, the Sing for Life Choir was begun in 2010 to measure the benefits of singing for cancer patients and their families. I wasn't able to find a similar organization in the U.S. - so please let me know of anyone doing the same thing on this side of the pond.
You can enjoy their music right now if you are interested. Here is a recording of their music at the 2010 National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool singing You'll Never Walk Alone:
As a cancer survivor this is music to my ears...
Photo: flickr.com, creative commons, author: London Bulgarian Choir
Gale, N. et al. A pilot investigation of quality of life and lung function following choral singing in cancer survivors. Ecancermedicalscience. 6:261. Epub 2012 Jul 11.