Scientific article
Open access

Hypnosis for symptom management in adult cancer patients : what is the evidence?

Published inCurrent treatment options in oncology, vol. 25, no. 3, p. 364-375
Publication date2024-01-04
First online date2024-01-04

As a palliative care specialist and a hypnotherapist, I use therapeutic communication and conversational hypnosis daily in my patient – doctor relationship. Formal hypnotherapy sessions are integrated in my practice whenever patients are open or wish for such an approach in relation to a specific symptom, for better overall management of their disease burden and/or enhanced well-being. Although hypnosis has been used for centuries in medical practice and for thousands of years in healing practices in ancient cultures all over the world, the evidence remains scarce. Nevertheless, in the last 10 years several randomised controlled trials have been conducted, building up an evidence base. In contrast to most oncological treatments, hypnotherapy is far from being considered evidence-based “standard care”. It is however, if practiced by a trained health care professional, almost free of side effects and therefore potentially has a very favourable benefit-to-harm ratio. The question arises whether hypnotherapy will ever become a standard of care intervention? This seems unlikely since its efficacy may be influenced by the patient’s belief in hypnosis and compliance to therapy. Furthermore, a fundamental necessity is a personalised approach that moves hypnotherapy more into the category of individual-centred care rather than standard care.

  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Distress
  • Hypnosis
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Procedure-related symptoms
  • Symptoms
Citation (ISO format)
VAYNE-BOSSERT, Petra. Hypnosis for symptom management in adult cancer patients : what is the evidence? In: Current treatment options in oncology, 2024, vol. 25, n° 3, p. 364–375. doi: 10.1007/s11864-023-01168-y
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1534-6277

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