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Dr. Max Gomez: Cancer Patients Turn To Hypnosis To Ease Side Effects Of Radiation

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A technique that magicians and entertainers have used for years may be useful as a form of cancer therapy.

It doesn’t treat the cancer itself, but hypnosis has been shown to ease the side effects of cancer therapy, CBS 2’s Dr. Max gomez explained.

Claire Zion was given radiation treatments after a double mastectomy in 2010. She said that hypnosis kept her energized during her cancer treatments.

“I rode my bike to radiation every day,” she said.

Radiation tends to leave patients seriously fatigued, but Zion, 54, took part in a study at Mt. Sinai Hospital where patients underwent cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis during treatment.

Patients in the study reported have more energy and less anxiety.

“Feeling anxious and worried can lead to fatigue and that’s one of the steps we’re working with patients to be more in control of,” Guy Montgomery, Mt Sinai Hospital explained.

Researchers found that even after 6 months, patients who underwent the hypnosis and therapy still felt less fatigued.

“They learned the skills that they needed to help themselves feel better over time and hopefully improve their quality of life,” Montgomery explained.

Other studies have found that hypnosis can also ease the pain of cancer treatments.

Zion is now cancer free but has started hypnosis again.

“It teaches you to find a place where you can quiet that noise and comfort yourself,” she said.

The study did not look at immune function but experts said that stress can reduce immunity, so if hypnosis calms a patient it may be good for their immune system. As a side benefit to hypnosis calm patients also sleep better.

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