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Australian cancer patients prescribed art therapy

Xinhua,December 01, 2017 Adjust font size:

CANBERRA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Doctors in Australia are prescribing art classes for cancer patients as part of their therapy.

The Arts on Prescription program was originally targeted at the elderly but is now being trialled with cancer patients at Greenwich Hospital in Sydney.

Andrew Cole, the physician in charge of the cancer rehabilitation clinic, said Thursday night the art therapy plays an important part in treating patients.

"Having Arts on Prescription is having another discipline in my team," he told national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Cole said the program, which is based on a British model, has helped to improve the general physical functioning of his patients.

"Our hope is to roll out the program to other cancer rehab centers across Australia as well," he said.

Patients at the rehabilitation center have created drawings, prints, photographs and paintings.

Jo Finlay, who is recuperating from radiation therapy for breast cancer and a bout of pneumonia, said the art therapy had helped improve her mood and mobility.

"Just to sit here and concentrate on art is quite a luxury," she said.

"It also reminds you of something we all forget and that is, just concentrate on the moment and don't worry about what the outcome is."

Program convenor and artist Janette Fodera said she has seen patients at the clinic gain a lot from art therapy.

"It's a real turnaround for a lot of patients," she said. "They find that it's actually been something they have enjoyed.

"Maybe not all will go away and paint but I have had patients who have felt that this sparked something new for them and I've sent them home with materials to continue their journey." Enditem