Young cancer patients benefit from creative arts therapy

Painting, making puppets and other forms of creative art offer a lot more than entertainment. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams explores a study that shows how creative art therapy improves symptoms, mood and more for young cancer patients.

Painting and other creative arts benefit kids with cancer, study shows. (Bob King /
We are part of The Trust Project.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Art has the power to help people through tough times. That idea prompted a nurse practitioner who was formerly a dancer to study how creative arts therapy might help young cancer patients.

Dr. Jennifer Raybin and her team at the University of Colorado Medical Center designed activities meant to help the pediatric patients express and process emotions. The children participated in making cloth mini-me dolls, turning radiation masks into art, doing yoga and using props such as balls and scarves for playful movement.

The study shows that creative arts therapy results in a better quality of life for young cancer patients.

“Curing cancer isn’t enough,” says Raybin. “Creative arts therapy helps patients negotiate the physical and psychological issues surrounding serious illness, while providing an enjoyable aspect to otherwise difficult treatment.”

The study is published in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing.



Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

Your body adjusts to hot weather slowly. So when heat waves hit, you need to know how to hydrate and stay cool to avoid heat-related illness. This is especially true for babies and older adults. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams gets tips from an emergency medicine doctor about how to stay healthy in extreme heat.

What to read next
Experts warn that simply claiming the benefits may create paper trails for law enforcement officials in states criminalizing abortion. That will complicate life for the dozens of corporations promising to protect, or even expand, the abortion benefits for employees and their dependents.
Compared to 2019 and 2020 data, cases of chlamydia remained similar to past Northland data, while gonorrhea cases have continued to increase in the region.
In Minnesota, abortion is protected by the state’s constitution and is legal up to the point of viability, which is generally thought to begin at about 24 weeks, when the fetus can survive outside the womb. Those who work with Minnesotans who seek abortions say barriers, both legal and practical, forced some to travel to Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin even prior to the Supreme Court’s decision.
"Minding Our Elders" columnist says it's important to remember that we can't "fix" aging for our parents, but we can listen with empathy and validate their feelings.