Living with Cancer


A cancer diagnosis results in overpowering emotions. These can be of shock, anger, fear, anxiety and panic. Often following this can be depression, denial, sadness, blame and guilt.

Being overwhelmed by negative emotions comes at a price. They focus our attention on lack and loss and away from the simple pleasures and gratitude for the life that is been lived. Even more than this stress raises hormone levels that compromise the immune system and create an environment more favourable to the spread of the disease.

When we overload our bodies  with the  ‘threat response’ we compromises  its ability to heal and close down more empowering ways of adapting to this challenging state.

A more outward looking and optimistic attitude results in reducing the side effects of treatment, more successful treatment and faster recovery. Hypnosis can facilitate this attitude by calming the mind and soothing the emotions.

Hypnosis takes place within a  non-judgemental, supportive environment where you can safely express and share your hopes and fears. These are often thoughts and feelings that are difficult to share with those people closest to you.

Diet,  nutrition and fasting

I can point toward  evidence based advice on diet, nutrition and fasting that stimulates the immune system and supports recovery.

Some examples of research and hypnosis

Hypnosis and cancer pain

A report from the American National Institute for Health in 1996 stated that hypnosis can help to reduce some kinds of cancer pain. A large review in 2006 looked at using hypnotherapy to control distress and pain from medical procedures in children with cancer. The review found that hypnotherapy did seem to help to reduce the children’s pain and distress.
In 2012, researchers in Spain again reviewed studies of children with cancer and found that hypnosis appeared to help reduce pain and distress from cancer or from medical procedures.

Hypnosis and sickness

A large review in 2006 looked at research into hypnotherapy for feeling or being sick from chemotherapy. Most of the studies in this area have been in children. Overall, the studies did show that hypnotherapy might be able to help with chemotherapy sickness in children. There has only been 1 study looking at hypnotherapy for sickness after chemotherapy in adults, so we need more research into this. You can look at this cancer and sickness review on the Research Council for Complementary medicine website.

One study found that hypnosis can help to reduce anticipatory nausea and vomiting. Anticipatory nausea or vomiting happens when people have had nausea or vomiting due to cancer drugs and they then have nausea or vomiting just before their next dose.

Hypnosis and hot flushes, anxiety, depression and sleep

A clinical trial in America in 2008 found that women having breast cancer treatment that had hypnosis had fewer hot flushes and the flushes were less severe. The women also had less anxiety, depression, and interference with daily activities, and better sleep.

Hypnosis and breast cancer surgery

A study in 2007 in America gave hypnotherapy to a group of women before breast surgery. The researchers found that hypnotherapy lowered the amount of pain, sickness, tiredness and upset that the women had after surgery. Another American study in 2006 found that hypnotherapy helped to lower anxiety and pain during a biopsy for suspected breast cancer.