In their 2013 article Hypnosis for Cancer Care: Over 200 Years Young, Montgomery, Schnur et al. describe the use of hypnosis with cancer patients. They cite a documented case from 1829 in Paris when M. le Docteur Chapelain used mesmerism (what hypnosis was known as at this time) during several months with a Madame Plantin who was suffering from an ulcerated cancer of one of her breasts which extended to a massive enlargement of her axillary lymph node. The doctor used hypnosis as an anesthetic during a dissection operation, in which Madame Plantin was calm and demonstrated good pain control.
They provided information on several studies in which certain patients receive hypnosis while others did not. The following is a brief description of the outcome of three of the studies (Montgomery, Schnur et al., 2013).
In the first example, a study involving 236 women who were undergoing large core image-guided breast biopsy, a random number of them were chosen to receive hypnosis and others standard care. The findings were that those who received hypnosis had lower levels of anxiety and pain during the procedure versus those that did not (Montgomery, Schnur et al., 2013)..
In a second study 20 patients who had undergone excisional breast biopsy, had a select number of them chosen to receive hypnosis; those that did, had significantly less post-biopsy pain, and experienced less distress prior to and post the biopsy procedure (Montgomery, Schnur et al., 2013).
The third and final study followed ninety patients who were scheduled to undergo excisional breast biopsy. Of these ninety patients, a random number of them were chosen to a pre-biopsy hypnosis group, the findings were that the those who had belonged to the hypnosis group had experienced significantly less pre-biopsy emotional upset, depressed mood and anxiety, and were much more relaxed than the other patients who had not received hypnosis (Montgomery, Schnur et al., 2013).
They stated, “Hypnosis has been consistently shown to improve clinical and cost outcomes associated with diagnostic procedures” (Montgomery, Schnur et al., 2013).
Montgomery, G. H., Schnur, J. B., & Kravits, K. (2013). Hypnosis for Cancer Care: Over 200 Years Young. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 63(1), 31–44. doi:10.3322/caac.21165
Expert in traditional and alternative areas of hypnosis, subconscious behaviorist