Hypnosis for Symptom Control in Cancer Patients at the End-of-Life: A Systematic Review

Hypnosis has been shown to alleviate symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment. However, less is known about the use of hypnosis at the end of life in individuals with cancer. Our goal was to systematically review the literature on the use of hypnosis to manage the most common symptoms of end-of-life cancer patients: fatigue, sleep disturbances, pain, appetite loss, and dyspnea. EMBASE, MEDLINE, COCHRANE, PsychINFO, and SCOPUS databases were searched from inception through November 7, 2016. No studies met the inclusion criteria. It appears that hypnosis has never been rigorously tested as a means to ameliorate the most common symptoms in individuals with cancer at the end of their lives. This finding is troubling, as it strongly implies that a population most in need has been largely neglected. However, a clear future research direction is revealed that may have significant clinical impact.

Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy for Treatment of Hot Flashes Following Prostate Cancer Surgery: A Case Study

This case study reports on a 69-year-old African American male who presented with hot flashes following a diagnosis of prostate cancer and subsequent prostatectomy. Measures include both self-reported and physiologically measured hot flash frequency and sleep quality. The intervention involved 7 weekly sessions of hypnotic relaxation therapy directed toward alleviation of hot flashes. Posttreatment self-reported hot flashes decreased 94%; physiologically measured hot flashes decreased 100%; and sleep quality improved 87.5%. At week 12, both self-reported and physiologically measured hot flashes decreased 95% and sleep quality improved 37.5% over baseline, suggesting hypnotic relaxation therapy may be an effective intervention for men with hot flashes following treatment for prostate cancer.