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Individualized Piano Instruction for Improving Cognition in Breast Cancer Survivors

Marlen Rodriguez-Wolfe
Debbie Anglade
Karina A. Gattamorta
William B. Hurwitz
William F. Pirl
ONF 2019, 46(5), 605-615 DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.605-615

Purpose: To evaluate the use of individualized piano instruction (IPI) for improving cognition among breast cancer survivors.

Participants & Setting: Six participants were included in an eight-week piano program with three data collection time points at baseline, midpoint, and postintervention. Participants were recruited from the breast cancer clinic of a university cancer center in South Florida.

Methodologic Approach: Neurocognitive, psychosocial, and self-report assessments were conducted to determine potential benefits and program feasibility, including the NIH Toolbox® Cognition Battery, the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT)–Cognitive Function, the FACT-Breast, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, and a participant questionnaire.

Findings: Results related to potential benefits suggest that IPI may significantly improve overall cognition in breast cancer survivors, with fluid cognition showing improvement. In addition, IPI may improve quality of life and self-reported measures of depression and anxiety, with large to moderate effect sizes, respectively.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses should explore different treatment options for chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment and consider including IPI in survivorship care plans.

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