Sing with Us explored the impact of singing in choirs for people affected by cancer. The charity Tenovus Cancer Care established this large-scale arts-in-health programme in 2010 and previous research connected to the programme revealed improvements in pain, vitality, social function, depression, and overall mental health for those who took part.
Working in partnership with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the London Cancer Alliance, we extended the understanding of the benefits of singing in choirs by examining changes in biomarkers, including stress hormones (glucocorticoids), proteins, and receptors of the immune system.
- A pilot study with 193 participants revealed that a single choir session reduced stress hormones and increased levels of immune proteins in people affected by cancer.
- The longitudinal aspect of the study showed that singing significantly decreased anxiety and increased wellbeing for carers and improved self-efficacy and self-esteem for those who had been bereaved.
- Qualitative data explored the mechanisms behind these effects, highlighting building resilience and meeting existential changes as key components of what enabled singing to result in these benefits.