Creative Arts Intervention (CAT) is an effective strategy for reducing anxiety in pediatric cancer survivors, especially during the first year of cancer treatment. These findings are cancer nursing.
Childhood cancer patients often experience distress, such as intense pain, nausea, and anxiety that can impair their quality of life. Some research has shown that CAT can help. However, the quality of the evidence is mixed and more research is needed.
The research group sought to add to a body of research on CAT in pediatric oncology. This examines the association of quality of life symptom subscales with creative arts therapy over time in children aged 3 to her 17 years in her first year of cancer treatment. It was done by
In a retrospective secondary analysis of prospective data, researchers analyzed data from children who attended CAT at a large pediatric cancer center between 2014 and 2019. A total of 267 observations in the two groups of patients were analyzed. A CAT group containing 65 participants and a non-CAT group containing 18 participants. They investigated the relationship between the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) symptom subscales and her CAT.
The intervention consisted of CAT sessions as part of planned cancer treatment approximately every 2-3 weeks, based on chemotherapy cycles. Therapy included dancing, movement with objects such as parachutes, yoga breathing and poses, singing, listening to music, painting, working with clay, and other artistic activities.
Procedural anxiety, such as needlestick-related anxiety, is one of the most distressing experiences reported in childhood cancer. In this study, procedural anxiety decreased in his CAT group but increased over time in the non-CAT group, whereas the effect of CAT decreased with patient age.
“Creative arts therapy may be an intervention to ameliorate the troubling symptoms of procedural anxiety in children with cancer,” the researchers wrote. It was not significantly improved with CAT and may be better targeted with other interventions.”
These results support considering creative arts interventions as part of a repertoire of symptom management strategies. “Nurses use creative techniques such as painting before a stressful ‘poke’, playing music in the treatment room, or dancing in the hallway to physically process anxiety before the procedure. We can suggest interventions,” the researchers suggest.
Limitations of the study include a selection bias that children who participated may already have an interest in the arts and improving quality of life. Research suggests a need to focus on investigating incentives to increase adolescent patient participation.
Raybin JL, Zhou W, Pan Z, Hendricks-Ferguson VL, Jankowski C. Creative arts therapy in children with cancer: symptom assessment reveals reduced anxiety. cancer nurse. Published online January 10, 2023. doi:10.1097/ncc.0000000000001186