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Researchers At Sylvester, Frost School Receive $2.6M Federal Grant To Study Mindfulness And Music Therapy

Driving Research For Patients

The project will examine how music therapy techniques affect symptoms and quality of life in cancer patients and survivors.

Kristin E. Rojas, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Researchers with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and the University’s Frost School of Music are using a $2.6 million federal grant to study how mindfulness and music therapy can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, reduce treatment-related symptoms, and improve quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.

The principal researchers on the project, which is supported by a five year grant from the National Cancer Institute and other agencies, are Frank J. Penedo, Ph.D., associate director of Cancer Survivorship and Translational Behavioral Sciences and director of Cancer Survivorship and Supportive Care at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Teresa L. Lesiuk, Ph.D., MT BC, director and associate professor of music therapy at the Frost School.

Drs. Penedo and Lesiuk are working to identify specific music therapy techniques that help cancer patients and survivors. A critical tool is mindfulness-based music therapy (MBMT) applied by trained music therapists.

Several factors relating to cancer patients and survivors will be considered, such as how listening to favorite types of music or playing an instrument (even for beginners) can “settle down” the effects of chemotherapy. They will also examine how music and attitudes of mindfulness can reduce distress and symptoms associated with cancer treatments, such as fatigue.

Joshua Segal flanked by his mother Joanna Segal on his left, and his father on the right