Short Communication

Art in Cancer Care

Marilynne N Kirshbaum*
School of Health, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

*Corresponding author: Marilynne N Kirshbaum, School of Health, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Published: 14 Jun, 2017
Cite this article as: Kirshbaum MN. Art in Cancer Care. Clin Oncol. 2017; 2: 1302.

Short Communication

There is a place for art in cancer care. I am convinced of that as a nurse, academic and researcher. The impact of a cancer diagnosis on the individual can be devastating in the way it affects the person physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially and economically. In a recently published review of the beneficial attributes of visual art-making in cancer care [1], the authors concluded that the experience of engaging in creative and enjoyable activities provided both pleasure and diversion from the aches, pains, discomfort and worries that accompany living with cancer. Furthermore, when someone is focused on learning and doing something new, their world is expanded - in a way that is so desperately needed, far removed from treatments, side effects of treatment and the disease process.
In Australia, a study was conducted that offered art-making sessions to people who have cancer, facilitated by enthusiastic and understanding professional artists. The results were analysed using an Energy Restoration Framework [2,3]. The framework identified the attributes of art-making (i.e. Expansive, Belonging, Purposeful, Nurturing and Stimulating) in relation to reducing fatigue and bringing about life affirmation and an opportunity for self-development and joy. It is my privilege and honour to encourage and promote a non-medical intervention through my research that has so much potential for the positive expansion of people’s lives.


  1. Ennis G, Kirshbaum M, Waheed N. The beneficial attributes of visual art-making in cancer care : An integrative review. Eur J Cancer Care. 2017; 29:71-78. DOI: 10.1111/ecc.12663.
  2. Kirshbaum, M Donbavand J. Making the most out of life: Exploring the contribution of Attention Restorative Theory in developing a non-pharmacological intervention for fatigue. Palliative and Supportive Care. 2014; 12: 473-480.
  3. Kirshbaum M, Ellis G, Waheed N, Carter F. Art in cancer care: Exploring the role of visual art-making programs within an Energy Restoration Framework. Eur J of Oncology Nursing 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j. ejon.2017.05.03.