Cancer, one of the most prevalent physiological and debilitating conditions worldwide, poses significant stressors and impact on patients’ physical and mental health as well as their caregivers. Upon various forms of therapeutic approaches to render support in a holistic fashion, music therapy has been gaining significant traction in recent decades as an evidence-based intervention that is beneficial to the physical, mental, and social health of cancer patients. Music therapy is a unique form of therapy that helps cancer patients with difficulties in speech and swallowing after radiotherapy during their rehabilitation process using singing to practice muscles, vocal and breathing besides traditional speech therapy. It provides an alternative outlet for patients to express themselves who find it difficult to do so in words, either due to physical or cognitive limitations. It may also act as a gateway for patients, survivors and caregivers to build rapport and foster mutual support while facing the journey of treatment and recovery.
Having recognized music therapy for its ability in enhancing physical and emotional wellbeing, the Foundation is supporting the restructured Music Therapy Program (the “Program”) of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre (“Maggie’s Centre”), an independent charity in Hong Kong within the Maggie’s Centres international network, renowned for its open-door drop-in care centers aiming to provide free emotional and social support to cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers by its multidisciplinary professional staff.
Being the first of its kind to be locally implemented in a comprehensive and regular manner, the Program’s activities not only include sessions of small group and individual music therapy, but also the establishment of the Maggie’s Choir, which members, all comprised of cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers, participate in weekly choral practice sessions led by a music therapist. Whereas cancer’s impact extends beyond physical health through affecting the social and emotional wellbeing of those affected in a detrimental fashion, weekly choir practices and regular public performances provide the choral members a focus for the future and sense of achievement and fulfilment, and opportunities to build meaningful relationships among themselves to establish a mutual support system.
I completely forget about the pain as soon as we start practising.
Survivor of cervical cancer
Through choir practices I have improved my speech and articulation which had been heavily affected by cancer treatments.
Survivor of head and neck cancer
The journey through cancer is never easy. Having witnessed great improvement in psychosocial ability and self-confidence among our Centre users who have taken part in the Music Therapy Program, I sincerely hope that the Program at Maggie’s Centre will continue to grow and help more patients live through and beyond cancer.
Through supporting the Program and Maggie’s Centre, the Foundation hopes to support music therapy as a supplemental remedy and contribute towards maintaining the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers as they journey through challenging times.