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Clinical Hypnotherapy And Cancer Treatment

Rebecca Jones (M.A. DipPCH) is a Clinical Hypnotherapist & Consultant (GHR, GHSC) (GQHP, MAC) and CEO/Founder: 'Paris St. Cloud' | Harley Street Therapy clinic | 'The Empire State of Mind'

Executive Contributor Rebecca Jones

Cancer has been appearing a lot in the world news and media lately, especially since the news broke of King Charles III and Catherine HRH The Princess of Wales, both suffering from cancer. Cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way. Some cancers may eventually spread into other tissues.

Cars parked on gray concrete near trees.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer.

1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime.

Thanks to research many people are cured.

Cancer starts when gene changes make one cell or a few cells begin to grow and multiply too much. This may cause a growth called a tumour.

A primary tumour is the name for where a cancer starts.

Cancer can sometimes spread to other parts of the body – this is called a secondary tumour or a metastasis.

Cancer and its treatments can affect body systems, such as the blood circulation, lymphatic and immune systems, and the hormone system.

Cancers are divided into groups according to the type of cell they start from. They include

  • Carcinomas

  • Lymphomas

  • Leukaemias

  • Brain tumours

  • Sarcomas

Our bodies are made up of tiny building blocks called cells. Inside every cell is a set of genes. Genes are the instructions the cell needs to work properly.

The instructions send signals to cells to grow and divide and make new cells. This is how our bodies grow and heal.

Sometimes genes in the cell can develop changes. If a gene is changed, it may not give the correct instructions anymore. A change in a gene is called a gene variant or mutation.

Gene variants in a cell may stop the cell working normally. Cancer may develop if cells like this multiply in an abnormal way and grow out of control. Over time, these cells can grow into a lump called a tumour.

In the UK, about 391,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year. There are over 200 different types of cancer.

We do not always know the cause of cancer. But some things can increase a person’s risk of getting cancer. These are called risk factors.

Nowadays we have more information about the causes and risk factors of cancer.

Getting better from cancer depends on what type of cancer it is, how early it is diagnosed and if it has spread.

Many people have treatment for cancer and it does not come back. For others, cancer can be kept under control for many years.

Research into cancer is evolving with new ways of treating and preventing cancer being discovered all the time.

One type of cancer, Lymphoma, is a type of blood cancer

  • It is the 5th most common type of cancer in the UK.

  • It can affect both adults and children, at any age.

  • There are effective treatments for most types of lymphoma.

Lymphoma develops when white blood cells called lymphocytes grow out of control. Lymphocytes are part of your immune system, which helps to fight infection. Lymphocytes travel around your body in the lymphatic system carrying a fluid called lymph. The lymph fluid passes through glands (lymph nodes), which are spread throughout your body. For this reason, lymphoma might also be referred to as a cancer of the immune system.

Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected.

Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to, cancer, include

  • Fatigue

  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin

  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain

  • Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won't heal, or changes to existing moles

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits

  • Persistent cough or trouble breathing

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Hoarseness

  • Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating

  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain

  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats

  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising.

Always seek professional help and the advice of your GP or doctor at your earliest convenience. 

What do gene mutations do?

A gene mutation can instruct a healthy cell to:

Allow rapid growth. A gene mutation can tell a cell to grow and divide more rapidly. This creates

many new cells that all have that same mutation.

Fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth. Normal cells know when to stop growing so that you have just the right number of each type of cell. Cancer cells lose the controls (tumor suppressor genes) that tell them when to stop growing. A mutation in a tumor suppressor gene allows cancer cells to continue growing and accumulating.

Make mistakes when repairing DNA errors. DNA repair genes look for errors in a cell's DNA and make corrections. A mutation in a DNA repair gene may mean that other errors aren't corrected, leading cells to become cancerous.

These mutations are the most common ones found in cancer. But many other gene mutations can contribute to causing cancer.

What to look out for

Spotting signs of cancer

Changes to your body's normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms can sometimes be an early sign of cancer.

Symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor include

  • a lump that suddenly appears on your body

  • unexplained bleeding

  • changes to your bowel habits

But in many cases your symptoms will not be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions.

Reducing your risk of cancer

  • Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer.

For example:

  • healthy eating

  • taking regular exercise

  • not smoking

Find out more about how a healthy lifestyle reduces your chances of developing cancer on the Macmillan Cancer Support website

Cancer treatment

Surgery is the first treatment to try for most types of cancer, as solid tumours can usually be surgically removed.

2 other commonly used treatment methods are

  • chemotherapy – powerful cancer-killing medicines

  • radiotherapy – the controlled use of high-energy X-rays.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths, or 1 in 6 deaths, in 2018. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men, while breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and thyroid cancer are the most common among women.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the cancer burden continues to grow globally, exerting tremendous physical, emotional and financial strain on individuals, families, communities and health systems. Many health systems in low- and middle-income countries are least prepared to manage this burden, and large numbers of cancer patients globally do not have access to timely quality diagnosis and treatment. In countries where health systems are strong, survival rates of many types of cancers are improving thanks to accessible early detection, quality treatment and survivorship care.

Living life with cancer

Life after cancer: Getting back to “normal” after treatment. Once you have finished cancer treatment, life does not suddenly go back to “normal”. In fact, life after cancer can hit hardest emotionally. The routine, people and support you’d gotten used to suddenly falls away.

Understanding cancer and depression

Finding out you have cancer can have a big impact on your mental health. Feelings of sadness, worry and fear are natural. But if these feelings get worse or last a long time it might mean you have depression. Depression is a common condition and not a sign of weakness. You are not alone. There are lots of things which can help.

Can cancer cause depression?

A cancer diagnosis can cause depression. Being told you have cancer is incredibly stressful. You might feel anxious and scared. You also have to deal with the side effects of any treatment and any changes in your life.

Depression can also be caused by changes in hormone levels. Some cancer treatments can affect these levels. These include hormone treatments for prostate and breast cancer or surgery to remove your ovaries or womb.

Understanding cancer and anxiety

Being told you have cancer can make you feel worried or scared. These feelings are a natural response to stress. They are sometimes called anxiety. But if these feelings become very hard to cope with or affect your daily life, you could have an anxiety disorder. The good news is there is lots of help and support to help you cope with anxiety.

What is health-related anxiety?

Anxiety can be brought on by stress or trauma. Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health problems.

Health-related anxiety is not a specific disorder. But being told you have a serious health condition like cancer can trigger anxiety.

Health anxiety is different. It is when someone spends so much time worrying about getting ill or thinking they are ill that it takes over their lives.

Traveling and holidays with cancer – Tips and advice

Just because you have cancer it does not mean you cannot go on holiday or travel. Whether it is going on a long-planned trip, or a last-minute booking, a holiday can provide a much-needed escape. But there are some things you need to think about when planning a trip.

Coping with loneliness and isolation with cancer

Cancer can make you feel lonely and isolated. You might be struggling to connect with those close to you or feel like you have no support. It is common to feel this way. But there are things you can do to help with these feelings and we are here to support you every step of the way.

Understanding loneliness and isolation

Loneliness and isolation are not the same thing. Someone might be physically on their own and not feel lonely. But they might feel more vulnerable than usual during their cancer treatment. Someone else could be surrounded by friends and family but feel very lonely. Both can be hard in their own way. But asking for help is the first step.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies for cancer are used along with mainstream medical treatments. They include things like yoga, massage and acupuncture.

Clinical Hypnotherapy is a psychological therapy and treatment that may be used alongside mainstream medical treatments for cancer.

Hypnosis is a psychological procedure that can help to change how you feel and act.

In hypnosis, you are put in a state of focused concentration that involves becoming less aware of your surroundings. In this state, you are more able to accept ‘suggestions’, also known as ‘invitations’. Your therapist will make suggestions that encourage you to move away from unhelpful beliefs towards more helpful beliefs.

For example, if you mistakenly believe that you are a bad person, in hypnosis the therapist will give you suggestions that help to change that to a more reasonable belief that you are fine as you are.

Hypnotherapy is a type of psychological therapy that uses hypnosis to help treat certain mental and physical health conditions. It can also be used to change habits.

Some therapists also use hypnosis to increase the effectiveness of other psychological treatments, or pain management. However, they may describe the treatment they are giving you by its usual name (such as CBT) rather than calling it hypnotherapy.

You can also perform hypnosis on yourself, which is called self-hypnosis.

As with many types of complementary therapy, some people with cancer use hypnotherapy to help them relax and cope with symptoms and treatment.

Hypnotherapy might help some people feel more comfortable and in control of their situation.

People with cancer most often use hypnotherapy for sickness or pain. There is reserach and evidence that hypnotherapy helps with these symptoms. It can also help with depression, anxiety and stress.

Some doctors and dentists have hypnotherapy training. They might use this alongside conventional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Research into hypnotherapy:Some reports show that hypnosis can help people to reduce their blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and pain. Hypnosis can create relaxing brainwave patterns. Clinical trials have looked at how well hypnotherapy works for people with cancer.

Daily life still carries on around treatment, but often things you could cope with normally can feel overwhelming, on top of what you are already going through.

Routines can change, there can be a lot of extra organising to do around appointments and extra things to remember.

You may be looking forward to reaching the end of treatment but feel like your experience has changed you, and wonder how you will cope.

Dealing with side effects

  • The side effects during and after treatment will have an impact on your ability to cope emotionally and physically day-to-day.

  • They will vary depending on the type of treatment you have and can affect how you look, how your body works, and how you feel.

  • You may also find it harder to manage at different stages of your treatment.

How does clinical hypnotherapy support cancer treatment?

A wide range of studies and meta-analyses show statistically significant benefits. Many doctors are educated about its use and applications and are aware of its therapeutic potential as therapy. It can speed recovery, shorten hospital admissions, reduce anxiety and enhance relaxation. Hypnotherapy is one of the best treatments available to treat drug-resistant irritable bowel syndrome, proven in randomised clinical trials. It has even been used to anaesthetise patients during surgery and speed their healing time.

Clinical Hypnotherapy is not used to cure cancer. Rather it is used to work alongside medical care, hospital care, and even palliative care, as well as medical treatments to ease symptoms of fatigue, nausea, sickness, pain, hot flashes, sleep disorders, and symptoms and side effects associated with radiation and chemotherapy.

Clinical Hypnotherapy is also used to calm and relax patients and potentially replenish cells in the body. It is also used to ease pain and sickness and to alleviate other far-reaching symptoms.and side effects.

Moreover, it is used to maintain a healthy and balanced mindset, ease and alleviate any symptoms of anxiety and depression.

And to help focus and expedite healing.

Can I get hypnotherapy on the NHS?

Hypnotherapy is not usually available on the NHS.

To find out if you can see a hypnotherapist on the NHS in your area, ask

  • a GP

  • your local integrated care board (ICB)

  • Finding a private hypnotherapist

  • In the UK, hypnotherapists do not have to have any specific training by law.

This means hypnotherapy can be offered by people with little training who are not health professionals.

When looking for a private hypnotherapist

  • Choose someone with a healthcare background – such as a doctor, psychologist or counsellor, and someone who has been trained extensively with a lot of experience.

  • If you have mental ill health or a serious illness (such as cancer), make sure they are trained in working with your condition.

  • If you are looking for a therapist for your child, make sure they are trained to work with children.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that concern you.

If you do not have any signs or symptoms, but are worried about your risk of cancer, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Ask about which cancer screening tests and procedures are appropriate for you.

If you would like further help or assist lease do not hesitate to get in touch to ask any further questions you may have about this article and any related issues:


Rebecca Jones, Clinical Hypnotherapist | Consultant Rebecca Jones (M.A. DipPCH) is a Clinical Hypnotherapist & Consultant (GHR, GHSC) (GQHP, MAC) and CEO/Founder: 'Paris St. Cloud' | Harley Street Therapy clinic | 'The Empire State of Mind'

Harley Street Therapy Clinic | London W1 | UK | Fifth Avenue Therapy Clinic | 5th Ave | NYC | USA | Global Solutions | Worldwide

Initially trained by Dr. Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna, & now a much trusted & highly valued part of their team, Rebecca is a highly sought-after expert in her field. Rebecca is an inspirational therapist and consultant with her thriving practice in Harley Street London and a successful clinic on Deansgate in Manchester; Rebecca is a dedicated, professional, highly experienced, and highly effective, successful therapist & consultant. Rebecca now also has a clinic on Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, USA.



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