Empowering Lyrics: How Songs Inspire Women Through Cancer

By Wendy Kaplan, MS, RDN, CSO, CDCES, CDN

Director of Nutritional Services

On Friday, April 5, 2024, New York experienced a 4.8 magnitude earthquake, with several aftershocks to follow. Fortunately, the damage was minimal. Surviving an earthquake is like navigating the aftershocks that sometimes follow the initial earthquake. Similarly, cancer survivorship is a journey filled with unexpected challenges and uncertainties post-treatment. Both experiences require resilience, adaptation, and support to overcome the ongoing impacts and help rebuild a sense of stability.  

At New York Cancer & Blood Specialists (NYCBS), our Women’s Cancer Support Group meets monthly, serving as a vital resource for individuals facing these challenges. The group has become more than a monthly get-together; it truly fills the need for emotional and peer support and creates meaningful connections. Each week, we explore a theme through discussions and activities. Our last meeting was centered around inspirational songs and how they can provide comfort, motivation, and emotional support for individuals at all stages of the cancer trajectory. 

Here are some ways in which inspirational songs can help:

  • Emotional Support: Music has the power to evoke emotions and can serve as a source of comfort for individuals facing the challenges of cancer treatment. Inspirational songs with uplifting lyrics can help uplift spirits and provide hope during hard times. 

  • Motivation and Strength: Cancer treatment can be physically and emotionally draining. Inspirational songs with empowering messages can motivate individuals to stay strong, persevere through treatment, and maintain a positive mindset.

  • Escapism and Relaxation: Music has the ability to transport individuals to a different mental space. Listening to inspirational songs can offer a temporary escape from the challenges of cancer treatment. 

  • Connection and Community: Music is a universal language that can create a sense of connection and unity. Inspirational songs with themes of resilience and overcoming adversity can resonate with individuals going through cancer treatment, fostering a sense of community and shared experience.

  • Encouragement and Positivity: Inspirational songs often carry messages of hope, courage, and positivity. By listening to songs that convey these sentiments, individuals undergoing cancer treatment can find encouragement, upliftment, and a renewed sense of optimism (even after a good cry). I may just be what someone needs to get through a day. 

  • Mind-Body Connection: Research has shown that music can have a positive impact on mental and physical well-being. Inspirational songs can help reduce stress, anxiety, and pain levels, promoting a sense of wellness during cancer treatment.

Here are some favorites from our Women’s Cancer Support Group attendees: 

  • Whitney Houston  - I Didn’t Know My Own Strength 

  • Destiny’s Child - Survivor 

  • Grateful Dead - Touch of Grey 

  • Tasha Cobbs - Put A Praise On It and Counting My Blessings

  • Neil Young - Long May You Run

  • Byron Cage - The Presence of The Lord Is Here

  • Green Day - Good Riddance

  • Miranda Curtis - You Are My Strength and You’re a Healer - The Lord’s Song 

Overall, the power of inspirational songs lies in their ability to touch the heart, uplift the spirit, and provide comfort to individuals navigating the complexities of cancer treatment. Whether finding comfort in the lyrics, drawing strength from the melodies, or connecting with others through shared musical experiences, inspirational songs can serve as a valuable tool on the journey.

What songs resonate with you? Please email wkaplan@nycancer.com with your favorite songs and any inquiries you may have about our Women’s Cancer Support Group. 


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