The Welsh cancer charity Tenovus and Cardiff University, both based in the UK, have reported that participation in a choir improves a number of quality of life factors for cancer survivors and their carers.
In an effort to create a community for cancer survivors and their carers, Tenovus established the choir, Sing for Life, in 2010. More than just a support group, the aim of the choir was to improve quality of life and emotional well-being in a more social setting.
In a pilot study to determine the effects of the choir on mental and physical health, Nichola Gale, part of a team from Cardiff University led by Robert van Deursen, in collaboration with Ian Lewis from Tenovus, invited participants of the Tenovus choir to take part in a research project which monitored their attitudes and health over a three month period. Emotional and physical effects of participating in a choir have been studied before, but this work is the first to specifically target cancer survivors and their carers.
Participants were asked to complete three questionnaires on quality of life (QoL, SF-36), anxiety and depression (HAD) and fatigue (MFI-20) both before and after the three month choir experience. Since singing requires controlled respiration, their lung capacity was also monitored. In addition, at the end of the three month period, 10 out of the 23 finishing participants were interviewed in order to gain additional insight into the perceived effects of the choir.