Effect on quality of life of watching Disney movies during chemotherapy

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Is watching Disney movies during chemotherapy associated with improved quality of life among patients with gynecologic cancer? this question led scientists at the Medical University of Vienna to show female cancer patients eight Disney movies with a happy ending during 6 cycles of chemotherapy.

The movies featured “strong main characters” with “high moral values” such as Mary Poppins, and Cinderella. After watching the films, the participant completed a survey aim to monitor the patients’ “emotional, social functioning and fatigue status.”

The 25 women in the Disney movie group felt less tense, irritable, and worried compared with 25 women in the control group who did not watch anything, the study found. This randomized clinical trial was performed from December 2017 to December 2018.

The study emphasizes the physical and psychological demand for patients with cancer and its treatment with chemotherapy. “Notably, among the major worries of women with gynecologic cancer are the adverse effects of chemotherapy.” said the researchers.

“Even more important, maintaining a positive attitude during treatment was a value shared by more than 90% of these patients, regardless of their age.1 This is in accordance with Walt Disney, who stated in 1958 that “the tonic effect of fun and play has long been recognized as an antidote to the stresses, worries, labors, and responsibilities of our workaday life.”

Furthermore, it has been shown that music can intensify emotions experienced when looking at pictures. In movies, music not only enhances the emotion of what is shown on the screen, but also can create impressions and emotions that take the audience back in time to when they heard this music for the first time and so can help recall childhood memories.

Disney perfected the interaction of music and stories in his movies. In addition, studies have shown that watching Disney movies is associated with increased prosocial behavior in children and that the importance of the family is emphasized. Disney movies provide not only the music component with their famous songs, but also provide a distraction for more than 1 hour.

Studies about distraction with music to reduce the stress of patients with cancer have been conducted. A Cochrane analysis found that music may have beneficial effects on quality of life, including such factors as anxiety and fatigue, in patients with cancer.

Two recent studies showed impressive results: Lopez et al, for example, described that tailored music therapy intervention can help reduce global, physical, and psychosocial distress. A Danish study group demonstrated that patients with non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma had reduced anxiety by listening to live music of their own choosing.

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