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Virtual Dance/Movement Therapy Proves Beneficial in Adult Cancer Care

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In a groundbreaking study, virtual Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) has emerged as a promising complementary treatment for adult cancer patients, addressing both psychological and physical well-being. Conducted within an academic oncology setting, this evaluation assessed the patient-reported benefits and satisfaction levels of a six-week virtual DMT program. The findings indicate significant improvements in anxiety, distress, and joy among the participants, alongside high satisfaction rates and unanimous program recommendations.

Evaluation Process and Methods

The program was meticulously developed and implemented to enhance physical health, alleviate mental distress, and facilitate social connections. A mixed methods approach was adopted, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the program’s impact. Descriptive statistics and a paired t-test were employed to analyze pre- and post-session data from 39 participants, while semi-structured interviews provided in-depth qualitative insights through thematic analysis.

The participant demographic primarily comprised women with a history of breast cancer, with an average age of 64.7 years. The evaluation process revealed noteworthy improvements in key psychological metrics, with a significant reduction in anxiety and distress levels, and an increase in feelings of joy. Additionally, there was a non-significant trend towards increased physical activity among the participants.

Key Findings and Themes

The thematic analysis highlighted several core benefits of the DMT program. Participants reported enhanced engagement in physical activities, which contributed positively to their physical health. The creative nature of the therapy fostered an environment for self-expression, aiding in the improvement of their mental state. Moreover, the program facilitated the building of social connections and support networks, which are crucial for cancer patients.

Practical Implications for Cancer Care

  • Cancer care programs can integrate virtual DMT to enhance patient well-being.
  • Virtual DMT can serve as a valuable tool for reducing anxiety and distress in cancer patients.
  • Fostering social connections through DMT can significantly support the mental health of patients.
  • Future studies should explore the specific effects of DMT on various patient outcomes in cancer care.

These findings underscore the potential of DMT as a valuable component of integrative cancer care. The high satisfaction and positive patient-reported outcomes from this study suggest that DMT can play a significant role in improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

Conclusively, this mixed-method evaluation provides a robust foundation for future randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to further investigate the specific effects and benefits of DMT in cancer treatment. Researchers are encouraged to build on these insights to develop comprehensive care models that incorporate DMT for holistic patient care.

Original Article: Support Care Cancer. 2024 May 27;32(6):388. doi: 10.1007/s00520-024-08591-3.

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