Health Team

Cancer Patients Turn Appreciative Hearts, Ears to N.C. Symphony's 'Treatment'

Posted April 12, 2007 6:41 p.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2007 6:17 a.m. EDT

— It's been said that music can soothe the soul. Many people believe it can help heal the body as well, and there are Rex Cancer Center patients who will tell you that's true.

Patients came for a special breakfast with the North Carolina Symphony at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday morning.

In this midst of difficult treatment for and recovery from cancer, many patients have learned that music can indeed be a tool in their healing.

Betty Lewis of Raleigh said she felt that classical music was a vital part of her treatment for breast cancer a few years ago.

"It was very important to me because I do find music to be medicinal and very cleansing for me day-to-day," Lewis said.

The current cancer patients and cancer survivors and their guests felt the music wash over them in Meymandi Concert Hall. According to Music Director Grant Llewellyn, it's not just what the music might do for your body—it's where the music takes the mind.

"Music and the performing arts in general can take you outside of yourself," said Llewellyn. That's true, he said, whether the texture of the music is loud and raucous or smooth and soothing.

"There's the perfect music to go with virtually every human state," said Llewellyn.

No one knows that better than violinist Suzanne Kelly, who's also a breast cancer survivor. She recognized many of the attendees from her treatment sessions at Rex Cancer Center.

Harpist Anita Burroughs-Price helped Kelly through one of her long, uncomfortable chemotherapy sessions.

"When we finished the chemo, she had played harp for me and I didn't remember one bit of the session because the music was so gorgeous and over-powering and soothing. I focused on the music," Kelly said.

Rex Healthcare understands the importance of music for patients. It has a music therapist on staff.