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Hypnosis 'helps breast cancer patients' Hypnosis 'helps breast cancer patients'

Hypnosis helps women recover more quickly from debilitating breast cancer surgery, researchers claim.

Patients who are put in a trance just before the operation spend less time in hospital and also have fewer side effects if they need chemotherapy.

They are hypnotised by an anaesthetist who talks softly about a chosen topic such as cooking or the beach, before administering a local anaesthetic to numb their breasts. The women do not fall asleep but instead go into a dream-like state.

Doctors at one hospital in Brussels say the technique has been so successful there that a fifth of the women undergoing surgery for breast cancer are now hypnotised beforehand.  

In research presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas they compared 110 women who had been hypnotised with 110 undergoing standard surgery.

The women who were hypnotised were only given a local anaesthetic - on the presumption that the trance-like state was enough to numb any pain - whereas the others were put to sleep under a general anaesthetic.

Researchers found that hypnotised patients spent a day less in hospital afterwards and were keen to be discharged, whereas those given general anaesthetic were not ready to go home.

A third of women who then underwent chemotherapy or radiotherapy suffered less severe side effects of fatigue and nausea, the researchers found.

Read the full article here

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