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Hypnosis and Cancer Symptoms, Treatments, and Side Effects

A review of research studies exploring the effect of hypnosis in reducing the distress of cancer treatment conducted at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, found that hypnosis has clearly been shown in a number of studies to reduce the distress and manage the symptoms of children and adults undergoing a variety of stressful procedures and treatments for cancer. For example, research conducted at Baylor University, Texas, on the effects of hypnosis on treatment related hot flashes among breast cancer survivors found that hypnosis appears to reduce perceived hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and may have additional benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression, and improved sleep. Additionally, research conducted at the Medical Oncology Division of Local Health Unit No. 13, Noale, Italy, found that adult cancer patients treated with hypnosis reported that chemotherapy-induced anticipatory nausea and vomiting disappeared in all cases. The American Cancer Society also cites hypnosis as complementary to the medical treatment of cancer.

  • Liossi, C. Hypnosis in cancer care. Contemporary Hypnosis. 2006, 23(1): 47-57. University of Southampton, UK.
  • Elkin, G., Marcus, J., Stearns, V., et al. Randomized trial of a hypnosis intervention for treatment of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol. 2008; 26(31):5022-26. Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798.
  • Deng, G. & Cassileth, B. R. Integrative oncology: complementary therapies for pain, anxiety, and mood disturbance. CA Cancer J Clin. 2005; 55(2):109-16. Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.
  • Marchioro, G., Azzarello, G., Viviani, F., et al. Hypnosis in the treatment of anticipatory nausea and vomiting in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy. Oncol. 2000; 59(2): 100-104. Department of Oncology, Psycho-Oncology Section and Medical Oncology Division, Local Health Unit No. 13, Noale, and Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Italy.

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