Patients with cancer benefited from longer-term art therapy (AT), these findings, from a cross-sectional survey, were published in JCO Oncology Practice.

The University of California, San Francisco has funded an Art for Recovery program since 1988. For this study, an expressive artist from the program held 3-hour weekly sessions for approximately 10 patients and invited participants who attended the AT during the first 3 months of 2019 to respond to this 14-question survey.

A total of 18 of the 22 (82%) identified patients participated in this study. These patients were aged mean 54 years, 89% were women, and 78% were White. The most common cancer diagnoses were of the breast (39%), brain (17%), colon (11%), and uterine (11%). Respondents had been attending AT for a median of 2 years (range, 2 months to 11 years).


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At the end of each session, participants expressed feeling compassion for themselves (72%) and for other participants (89%) and indicated that the friendships made during AT were valuable (94%).

The major themes identified among the open-ended responses were the togetherness of AT aligned with community consciousness, the active engagement of AT was empowering, and the familiarity of AT provided a support structure.

This study was limited by the low sample size and the lack of diversity among participants.

The conclusions drawn from these survey responses were that longer-term AT provided benefits to patients with cancer. The long duration enabled patients to form friendships and to feel comforted by the routine. Cancer centers may consider implementing longer-term therapeutics to improve community relationships.

Reference

Brondfield S, Bochatay N, Perlis C. Developing a community for patients with cancer through longer-term art therapy. JCO Oncol Pract. Published online October 14, 2020. doi:10.1200/OP.20.00419