Healing Arts Cancer Programs in the U.S. & Canada
Archer, S., Buxton, S., & Sheffield, D. (2015). The effect of creative psychological interventions on psychological outcomes for adult cancer patients: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Psycho-Oncology,24(1), 1-10. doi:10.1002/pon.3607
This systematic review details the benefits of creative arts therapies on anxiety, depression, quality of life, coping, stress, anger and mood, with no one type of creative art being more beneficial.
Baalen, C. N., Grypdonck, M., Hecke, A. V., & Verhaeghe, S. (2016). Hope dies last … A qualitative study into the meaning of hope for people with cancer in the palliative phase. European Journal of Cancer Care,25(4), 570-579. doi:10.1111/ecc.12500
This article explored the meaning of hope with patients in the palliative phase of cancer. The function of hope for these patients is explored.
Barbor, M. (2017). The role of integrative and alternative medicine in cancer care. The Oncology Nurse,10(6), 17.
This article details the use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer care and discusses relevant research.
Ben-Arye, E., Kruger, D., Samuels, N., Keinan-Boker, L., Shalom, T., & Schiff, E. (2014). Assessing patient adherence to a complementary medicine treatment regimen in an integrative supportive care setting. Supportive Care in Cancer,22(3), 627-634. doi:10.1007/s00520-013-2016-z
This study evaluated factors related to oncology patient adherence to complementary medicine treatment regimens.
Bozcuk, H., Ozcan, K., Erdogan, C., Mutlu, H., Demir, M., & Coskun, S. (2017). A comparative study of art therapy in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and improvement in quality of life by watercolor painting. Complementary Therapies in Medicine,30, 67-72. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2016.11.006
This study evaluated the role of art therapy with patients in chemotherapy. Results confirm that cancer patients show improved quality of life and decreased depression with the use of painting as an art therapy intervention.
Bradt, J., Potvin, N., Kesslick, A., Shim, M., Radl, D., Schriver, E., . . . Komarnicky-Kocher, L. T. (2015). The impact of music therapy versus music medicine on psychological outcomes and pain in cancer patients: A mixed methods study. Supportive Care in Cancer,23(5), 1261-1271. doi:10.1007/s00520-014-2478-7
This study examined music therapy vs medicine for pain in cancer patients and found both interventions to be equally effective. A majority of patients preferred music therapy, reasons for this finding are explored.
Bradt, J., & Goodill, S. (2013). Creative Arts Therapies Defined. JAMA Internal Medicine,173(11), 969. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6145
This invited commentary explores the review conducted by Puetz et.al.(2013), and the benefits that literature continues to demonstrate of the health benefits of creative arts interventions with cancer patients.
Cook, E. L., & Silverman, M. J. (2013). Effects of music therapy on spirituality with patients on a medical oncology/hematology unit: A mixed-methods approach. The Arts in Psychotherapy,40(2), 239-244. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2013.02.004
This study evaluated the effect of three different music therapy doses on patients spirituality. Positive effects of music therapy were found on spirituality.
Cutshall, S. M., Cha, S. S., Ness, S. M., Stan, D. L., Christensen, S. A., Bhagra, A., . . . Ruddy, K. J. (2015). Symptom burden and integrative medicine in cancer survivorship. Supportive Care in Cancer,23(10), 2989-2994. doi:10.1007/s00520-015-2666-0
This article addresses the need for oncology patients to be educated regarding integrative medicine practices to help alleviate symptoms throughout survivorship.
Edwards, J. (2017). The need for creative arts therapist to consider their own and clients’ spirituality in providing ethical and effective therapeutic care. The Arts in Psychotherapy,53. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2017.03.003
This editorial reviews the need for awareness of client and therapist spirituality when providing creative arts interventions, literature in creative arts is utilized to discuss this issue.
Elwafi, P. R., & Wheeler, B. L. (2016). Listening to music as part of treatment for breast cancer: A qualitative content analysis of patients’ listening logs. The Arts in Psychotherapy,48, 38-45. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2015.12.004
Themes from breast cancer patient music logs were analyzed and the implications for understanding patients experiences as well as for use of music therapy are detailed.
Frenkel, M., & Cohen, L. (2014). Effective communication about the use of complementary and integrative medicine in cancer care. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,20(1), 12-18. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0533
The article discusses the value of effective communication in discussing complementary and integrative medicine options with individuals with cancer.
Fulop, J. A., Grimone, A., & Victorson, D. (2017). Restoring balance for people with cancer through integrative oncology. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice,44(2), 323-335. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2017.02.009
The benefits of integrative medicine (IM) to oncology patients are explored in this article as well as different types of IM available.
Geue, K., Rieckhof, S., Buttstaedt, M., & Singer, S. (2017). Do cancer patients with high levels of distress benefit more than less distressed patients from outpatient art therapy? European Journal of Oncology Nursing,30, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.ejon.2017.07.004
Cancer patients with high and low levels of distress who received art therapy in an outpatient setting were evaluated for quality of life measures. Results were inconclusive.
Gripsrud, B. H., Brassil, K. J., Summers, B., Søiland, H., Kronowitz, S., & Lode, K. (2016). Capturing the experience: reflections of women with breast cancer engaged in an expressive writing intervention. Cancer Nursing,39(4). doi:10.1097/ncc.0000000000000300
Expressive writing has been found to be beneficial as a tool in improving quality of life for breast cancer patients. This study explored the reflections of breast cancer patients and revealed ways writing was therapeutic.
Heiney, S. P., Darr-Hope, H., Meriwether, M. P., & Adams, S. A. (2015). Healing by creating: Patient evaluations of art-making program. The Journal of Creative Behavior,51(1), 35-44. doi:10.1002/jocb.84
Patient evaluations of creative arts programs with cancer patients are examined and the themes and suggestions for further research in healing arts are explored.
Hermansen-Kobulnicky, C. J., & Purtzer, M. A. (2014). Tracking and journaling the cancer journey. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing,18(4), 388-391. doi:10.1188/14.cjon.388-391
This article details the ways that journaling can be used for self-monitoring during the cancer experience and how nurses can encourage beneficial aspects of this practice.
Hertrampf, R., & Wärja, M. (2017). The effect of creative arts therapy and arts medicine on psychological outcomes in women with breast or gynecological cancer: A systematic review of arts-based interventions. The Arts in Psychotherapy,56, 93-110. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2017.08.001
The effects of creative arts therapy with specific populations of individuals with breast and gynecological cancers were explored. Results indicated that art based interventions can be helpful in improving psychological outcomes for specific populations.
Huang, S., Good, M., & Zauszniewski, J. (2010). The effectiveness of music in relieving pain in cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies,47, 1354-1362. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2010.03.008
This research evaluated the effect of music on reduction of pain, significant effects were found in groups where music was used. Cultural considerations in music used is also discussed.
Jackson, K. (2015). Beyond talk- creative arts therapies in social work. Social Work Today,15(3), 22. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from
The history of the use of the creative arts in social work and professional training advice are detailed in this article.
Kelly, B. L., & Doherty, L. (2017). A historical overview of art and music-based activities in social work with groups: Nondeliberative practice and engaging young people’s strengths. Social Work with Groups,40(3), 187-201. doi:10.1080/01609513.2015.1091700
This article details the history of the origins of the use of art and music in group social work activities.
Korhan, E. A., Uyar, M., Eyigör, C., Yönt, G. H., Çelik, S., & Khorshıd, L. (2014). The effects of music therapy on pain in patients with neuropathic pain. Pain Management Nursing,15(1), 306-314. doi:10.1016/j.pmn.2012.10.006
This study examined the effect of music therapy on reduction of neuropathic pain, results implied that inclusion of music helped reduce pain intensity.
Liaquat, S., Sultan, S., & Hussain, I. (2013). New horizon of spiritual well-being and hope among cancer patients: A psychological aspect. I-manager's Journal on Educational Psychology,6(4), 30-35.
This study demonstrated that there was a positive relationship between spiritual well-being and hope among cancer patients of all stages and especially those in last stage of cancer.
Lopez, G., Mao, J. J., & Cohen, L.. (2017). Integrative oncology. Medical Clinics of North America,101(5), 977-985. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2017.04.011
This article details the definition of Integrative Medicine (IM) in oncology care, types of IM available, as well as the psychosocial benefits for symptom relief of patients.
Matovina, C., Birkeland, A. C., Zick, S., & Shuman, A. G. (2017). Integrative medicine in head and neck cancer. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,156(2), 228-237. doi:10.1177/0194599816671885
The article details the increasing need and potential for integrative medicine with patients with head and neck cancers.
Oh, P., & Kim, S. (2016). The effects of expressive writing interventions for patients with cancer: A meta-analysis. Oncology Nursing Forum,43(4), 468-479. doi:10.1188/16.onf.468-479
This meta-analysis reviewed prior studies and found significant small effects on cancer symptoms from writing interventions.
Öster, I., Tavelin, B., Thyme, K. E., Magnusson, E., Isaksson, U., Lindh, J., & Åström, S. (2014). Art therapy during radiotherapy – A five-year follow-up study with women diagnosed with breast cancer. The Arts in Psychotherapy,41(1), 36-40. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2013.10.003
This five year study was a follow-up study which examined long term effects of art therapy for breast cancer patients. No significant differences were found after five years. Prior studies found significant improvement during treatment phases with art therapy.
Papagiannaki, A., & Shinebourne, P. (2016). The contribution of creative art therapies to promoting mental health: Using interpretative phenomenological analysis to study therapists’ understandings of working with self-stigmatisation. The Arts in Psychotherapy,50, 66-74. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2016.06.007
This article analyzes the interviews of creative arts therapists to understand from a phenomenological perspective, the role of the therapist in reducing self-stigmatization of individual with mental health disorders.
Puetz, T. W., Morley, C. A., & Herring, M. P. (2013). Effects of creative arts therapies on psychological symptoms and quality of life in patients with cancer. JAMA Internal Medicine,173(11), 960. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.836
This review of twenty-seven studies in creative arts therapies found that during cancer treatment, creative arts therapies reduced anxiety, depression, pain, and increased quality of life.
Przezdziecki, A., & Sherman, K. A. (2016). Modifying affective and cognitive responses regarding body image difficulties in breast cancer survivors using a self-compassion-based writing intervention. Mindfulness,7(5), 1142-1155. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0557-1
This study examines self-compassion related to body image for breast cancer survivors in response to a paper-based writing intervention.
Rankanen, M. (2016). Clients’ experiences of the impacts of an experiential art therapy group. The Arts in Psychotherapy,50, 101-110. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2016.06.002
Positive impacts on psychological health, social relationships, and physical health are noted in patient responses from experiential art therapy group.
Rankanen, M. (2014). Clients’ positive and negative experiences of experiential art therapy group process. The Arts in Psychotherapy,41(2), 193-204. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2014.02.006
Positive and negative experiences during experiential art therapy groups are explored in this study.
Regev, D., Chasday, H., & Snir, S. (2016). Silence during art therapy—The clients perspective. The Arts in Psychotherapy,48, 69-75. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2016.02.001
This study evaluated client perceptions of silence during art therapy and found silence was more pleasantly experienced when art materials were involved.
Rossetti, A., Chadha, M., Torres, B. N., Lee, J. K., Hylton, D., Loewy, J. V., & Harrison, L. B. (2017). The impact of music therapy on anxiety in cancer patients undergoing simulation for radiation therapy. International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics,99(1), 103-110. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.05.003
During simulation radiation for head and neck and breast cancer, music therapy was used and diminished patient anxiety and distress. Cultural considerations for music used is also discussed.
Sajnani, N., Marxen, E., & Zarate, R. (2017). Critical perspectives in the arts therapies: Response/ability across a continuum of practice. The Arts in Psychotherapy,54, 28-37. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2017.01.007
The need to expand upon the body of knowledge of art therapies is explored in order to understand more fully how therapists create spaces of freedom, resistance, and empowerment.
Stanczyk, M. M. (2011). Music therapy in supportive cancer care. Reports of Practical Oncology & Radiotherapy,16(5), 170-172. doi:10.1016/j.rpor.2011.04.005
This article reviews the use of music therapy in cancer care and details the positive effects of music found in prior studies.
Thompson, S., Grocke, D., & Dileo, C. (2017). The use of group descriptive phenomenology within a mixed methods study to understand the experience of music therapy for women with breast cancer. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy,26(4), 320-337. doi:10.1080/08098131.2016.1239648
This study examines the lived experience of music therapy for women with breast cancer through the lens of phenomenology.
Van Lith, T. (2016). Art therapy in mental health: A systematic review of approaches and practices. The Arts in Psychotherapy,47, 9-22. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2015.09.003
This systematic review of art therapy in mental health examined the areas of practice previously studied, implications for future research, and need for client voices in art therapy literature.
Viscuse, P. V., Price, K., Millstine, D., Bhagra, A., Bauer, B., & Ruddy, K. J. (2017). Integrative medicine in cancer survivors. Current Opinion in Oncology,29(4), 235-242. doi:10.1097/cco.0000000000000376
The benefits of practitioners of cancer care survivorship being educated in the evidence for and against integrative medicine (IM) are detailed, as increasing numbers of cancer survivors are looking to IM for symptom reduction and improved quality of life.
Witt, C., & Cardoso, M. (2016). Complementary and integrative medicine for breast cancer patients – Evidence based practical recommendations. The Breast,28, 37-44. doi:10.1016/j.breast.2016.04.012
Due to growing numbers of breast cancer patients using complementary and integrative medicine (CIM), it is necessary for conventional treatment teams to be educated about the CIM with benefits to patients, as detailed in this article.