Playing music during biopsy for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment helps patients to reduce pre-operative anxiety, a research has found.

The study published in the journal AORN provided insights into the impact of implementing a music therapy programme for surgical patients.

The paper is based on the effect of live and recorded music on the anxiety of 207 women undergoing a biopsy for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and randomised patients into a control group (no music), a live music group, or a recorded music group.

The researchers presented patients in the experimental groups with a live song performed by a music therapist at bedside or a recorded song played on an iPod through earphones.

Participants in both live and recorded-music groups experienced a significant reduction in pre-operative anxiety of 42.5 per cent and 41.2 per cent, respectively, when compared to the control group.

"During our two-year trial, we gained information on potential benefits, challenges and methods of facilitating a surgical music therapy program," said Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, Music Therapist at the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, US.

The researcher said that a music therapist may be highly beneficial in the surgical setting, and music therapy may be a means of enhancing the quality of patient care in collaboration with perioperative nurses.

"As an interdisciplinary surgical staff member, the music therapist may help nurses achieve patient-related goals of anxiety reduction, pain management, effective education and satisfaction. And by having professional music therapists facilitate surgical music therapy programs, nursing workloads also may be reduced," Palmer added.