A medical study finds video games can help children and teens with cancer cope with pain caused by their treatment
A medical study has found that video games can help children and teens with cancer cope with the pain caused by their treatment.
Don’t be surprised if you find children playing video games in the oncology ward of the Hospital La Paz Madrid, Spain . This is not preferential treatment for cancer patients, but rather the way the doctors there help relieve the pain that patients suffer while undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Doctor Francisco Reinoso Barbero, head of the pediatric pain management unit at La Paz Hospital , explained that he and his team are practicing the results of a study on pain control due to cancer treatment published in the March 2020 issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Mucositis is caused by chemotherapy, which often triggers terrible inflammation, as well as sores and ulcers in the mouth, throat and esophagus.
During the study, 20 children who had leukemia or had received a bone marrow transplant were encouraged to play video games.
Doctors saw a 20% reduction in morphine use and a 44% reduction in bolus requests, an extra drug that patients can ask for to help with pain.
This study looked at children aged 4 to 17 years with poor rates of mucositis. They can’t eat solid food, and in some cases can’t eat or drink at all.
The usual procedure for patients with these symptoms is to connect them to a PCA pump that delivers morphine to relieve pain.
In this study, after 24 hours on the morphine pump, patients were asked to play a video game and given a questionnaire about their pain intensity. The results showed that the mean incidental pain intensity reported in the previous 24 hours was significantly reduced after playing video games.
The idea of playing video games while undergoing cancer treatment was actually born from the idea of Monica Esteban, an advertising executive in Madrid.
In 2010, he gave a PlayStation he no longer used to a child who was undergoing chemotherapy. Monica immediately noticed the improvement in the boy’s mood.
The incident prompted him to create ‘Juegoterapia’, a movement to collect and distribute thousands of video game stations in Spain, Portugal, Honduras and Afghanistan, to give to cancer sufferers.