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Hypnosis Eases Pain of Breast Cancer Surgery
Date:8/28/2007

Other benefits: Less anesthesia, faster recovery, less cost, study finds

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Instead of pills and needles, hypnosis may ease the pain of surgery -- both during and after the procedure.

According to a new study, women who received hypnosis before breast cancer surgery needed less anesthesia during the procedure, reported less pain afterward, needed less time in the operating room and had reduced costs.

"This helps women at a time when they could use help, and it has no side effects. It really only has side benefits," said Guy Montgomery, lead author of the report and associate professor in the department of oncological sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Montgomery hopes that the study, published online in the Aug. 28 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, will promote greater use of hypnosis in medical treatments.

Side effects such as pain, nausea and fatigue -- both during and after breast cancer surgery -- are commonplace. Previous research has suggested that hypnosis, a simple and inexpensive procedure, can help ease these problems. One small clinical study indicated that hypnosis was also effective for breast cancer patients about to undergo surgery.

For the new study, 200 women set for breast cancer surgery were randomly assigned to receive either 15 minutes of hypnosis with a psychologist or assigned to a group that simply spoke with a psychologist.

During the hypnosis session, the patients received suggestions for relaxation and pleasant imagery as well as advice on how to reduce pain, nausea and fatigue. They also received instructions on how to use hypnosis on their own.

The researchers found that women in the hypnosis group required less anesthesia and sedatives than patients in the control group, and also reported less pain, nausea, fatigue, discomfort and emotional upset after th
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