Improved childhood cancer survival rates are associated with increasing numbers of patients with neurocognitive impairment. Detrimental cancer treatment effects include declines in IQ, attention, executive function, processing speed, memory, and visuospatial and visuomotor skills, reducing patientsâ€™ quality of life and the potential to achieve key life milestones. Music training can improve intelligence, attention, and memory as well as provide a medium for interaction, coping, stress reduction, and improved self-esteem. Given the crossover between the domains impaired by childhood cancer treatment, and improved through music training, there is potential for music-based interventions to minimize detrimental treatment effects. This article reviews the neurocognitive effects of childhood cancer and its treatment, provides a theoretical rationale for offering children with cancer music-based interventions, and suggests strategies that carers may use to extend their intellectual potential and quality of life.
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