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WHAT'S YOUR "CANCER SONG"?: USING MUSIC AS A WAY TO COPE

By Kayla Giacin
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Survivor Justin sings as he uses music to help express himself at HUC
Survivor Justin sings as he uses music to help express himself at HUC

As more and more is learned about teen and young adult survivors in the brain tumor and cancer world, a lot is also learned about coping mechanisms for this age group.  Self-help books and support groups are great but let’s face it, patients and survivors in their teens and 20’s are more interested in what most other teens and 20 year olds are interested in. 

Media and entertainment is a somewhat unexpected yet quickly growing way for survivors and caregivers of any age but especially young adult/teens survivors to connect over this common thread among them – a thread that is difficult to find in most of our peers.  Even when thinking about myself, I belong to 5 groups on Facebook and interact on a daily basis with friends across the country based on our diagnoses. 

Recently, in one of the Facebook groups one member posed a question that was very current and also very poignant to cancer and tumor survivors.  Seems simple, but it was “What’s your cancer song?”  What did we listen to while going through treatments? Is there something we play when we have an upcoming MRI?  Is there a song that elicits the emotional release we might need when there are feelings that are otherwise difficult to express? Or is it simply a song that takes us back to a very poignant moment during our diagnosis and journey.  This question sparked a lively conversation filled with lyrics, YouTube videos and responses from other survivors putting in their commentary about musical tastes and choice.

Songs ranged from very current music like Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” to Guns and Roses “Sweet Child of Mine” (or even a few personal favorites of mine from The Beatles!)  Some people commented that their song had lyrics that really spoke to them and others said that it was a song that had an upbeat vibe and kept them positive.

No matter the reason for choosing a particular song, music is very relatable for many survivors because it has the power to change our moods, give us hope or let us be sad, and over all connect with other survivors over similar (or dissimilar!) song choices.  Music also helps us to feel connected to the world beyond brain tumors because it is so much a part of the world around us.

When it seems like it’s difficult to cope with sickness, having something to attach your experience to can speak volumes.  Although not a cure all, music and having a “cancer song” can provide something that everyone can relate to and can offer some relief the wide range of emotions we experience.

 

 

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