Not everyone appreciates that hypnosis can help with the way we think about and experience cancer.

That’s not to say it will ‘take it away’, but it can and will help you as you go through the cancer journey.

Whether it is breast cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer or one of the many other types of cancer, “It’ll never happen to me”, or, “I’ll deal with that stuff when I’m much older”, are often the comments people make.

Cancer, however, does affect many people, about one in three members of the population are touched by cancer at some time, often at much earlier stages of their lives than they might have expected.

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Understanding “Why cancer?”

Cancer is a multifaceted degenerative disease and the vast majority of research indicates it appears to be caused by a breakdown of our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Whilst medical researchers and scientists continue to investigate how and why people ‘get’ cancer, research to date has shown that only around 5-10% of cancers might be purely genetic, meaning approximately 90% of cancers appear to be in part caused by a mixture personal life-style issues, the choices we might make or the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Precipitating events for cancer

Whilst not exhaustive, the list below provides examples of the proximate causes underlying many commencements of cancer.

  • Long-term overeating and resultant obesity

  • Frequent or long-term cycles of dieting followed by weight gain

  • A diet with few vegetables and fruits and / or consistently eating the wrong foods or diet

  • Lack of regular physical exercise

  • Consuming too much alcohol, either regularly or in binge sessions

  • Smoking tobacco or other substances

  • Using chewing tobacco, pastes or other related plant extracts

  • Over-exposure to sunlight

  • Working in environments with dangerous substances

  • Continual exposure to stress or stressful experiences

  • A perpetual feeling of being unable to influence or control one’s environment

  • Ongoing emotional conflicts

  • Holding onto or blocking out feelings that you feel cannot be expressed

  • Long-term feelings of disliking yourself, of never being good enough

  • Specific trauma or loss occurring in the period prior to the onset of cancer


You’re not to blame for your cancer

Sometimes when people first review the various precipitating events behind cancer they feel as if this means that they must to be to blame for what has happened to them. Not so. A more appropriate way of interpreting this information is to recognise that your mind and body had no other way of dealing with all that was happening around you, back then and cancer was the result of this running out of options.

Pre-cancerous cells

Research has shown that we all appear to have pre-cancerous cells within our bodies. It’s just that in the vast and overwhelming majority of cases, those cells are destroyed by our bodies natural defence mechanisms before they develop into full cancerous cells.

When an autopsy is carried out on a deceased but healthy person they can sometimes be found to have cancerous tissue within, however, it was not affecting them.

Situations have arisen where an apparently healthy organ has been transplanted into a donor, who has been placed upon immuno-suppressant medication to ensure the transplant was not rejected.

Unbeknownst to the doctors, that transplanted organ had cancerous cells within and when transplanted into someone with a suppressed immune system, commenced to divide and grow. Once taken off the medication and the transplant removed, no further cancerous cells grew within the transplant patient.

It therefore follows that for some people, under some circumstances, these immuno-defence mechanisms appear to switch off and are no longer able to eradicate cancer cells at their earliest stages of development.

Scientific and medical research has shown that when we are subjected to repeated mental or emotional stress we are more prone to suffer physical ailments. At a lower level this might mean catching a cold, or getting a headache. More significant levels if illness include irritable bowel syndrome and migraines.

Further research has shown that for many cancer suffers, it has been possible to track back their cancer to specific or repeating stressful events happening in or around their lives.

It’s as if the mind and body just couldn’t cope with trying to deal with everything that was asked of it and they simply broke down and stopped doing their jobs any more.

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What is hypnosis?

You can find out more about hypnosis at my FAQ page and in addition I would be pleased to send you a printed copy of my brochure that contains more information along with a CD containing a guided relaxation session. Simply click here to complete my contact form and I will forward this to you in the next available post.

At its simplest, hypnosis is just a method of allowing you to relax your body and conscious mind, switching off from the outside world, thus allowing you to focus upon your inner-mind, so that the various thoughts, ideas and beliefs that are contained therein can be looked at afresh.

It’s very safe, natural and relaxing and unlike many medicines it’s non-addictive, nor can you overdose on it or become addicted to it and is not contra-indicated when used in conjunction with any medicines.

Can anyone be hypnotised?

Hypnosis is a natural state. We all experience it many times every day, however, because of its natural, flowing state we don’t readily notice it. There are only a few categories of people that have problems with staying in hypnosis; those with a very low IQ, people suffering from certain specific mental problems, people on drugs, or strong medication, or under the influence of alcohol.

How hypnosis helps

Hypnosis is not of itself a medical procedure and all reputable hypnotherapists and accrediting bodies caution that relying on hypnosis alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences. Hypnosis can, however, help people experiencing cancer in many ways. Some of the main examples include:

  • Stress management and relaxation techniques

  • Overcoming fears and phobias related to the various medical procedures

  • Help with learning self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques

  • Alleviating the anxiety and worries around the procedures

  • Improving sleeping patterns and reducing insomnia

  • Dealing with issues about improving self-image and rebuilding self-confidence

  • Pain management and control, both during the procedures and after any operations

  • Reducing feelings of sickness and nausea from the various medicines and chemicals used

  • Reducing feelings of sickness and nausea before the procedures commence

  • Understanding how and why the cancer started, so as to minimise its chances of re-occurrence

  • Learning how to listen better to the messages of your mind and body

  • How to use positive mental imagery to develop a compelling future after cancer

  • Planning a way to revise your lifestyle after cancer


Hypnosis for family and carers

Hypnosis also provides benefits for those coping alongside cancer suffers; oftentimes those people feel obligated to keep their feelings bottled-up, unable to let those with cancer see how difficult it is for them too. Fears and unresolved issues can bubble up to the surface and impact upon their relationship at this stressing time. There can also be feelings of guilt and sometimes anger, as if we can feel responsible that someone has cancer but also annoyed they let it go so far before seeking help.

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Doctors are too rushed

For hypnosis to be effective it needs to take place in a calm, quiet place where both the client and the hypnotherapist can be together, undisturbed, for around an hour or so.

A time such as this might be required on a regular basis for a period of weeks. If one then contrasts that ideal pattern with how rushed and pressurised most medical staff are it’s easy to understand why hypnosis cannot easily be delivered within a traditional hospital room or a doctor’s surgery. Their time constraints mean that 5 minutes might be the most they can offer.

Understandably, therefore, medicine which can be prescribed quickly but taken over a longer period of time is a more suitable approach for them to consider as best.

Drugs = Corporate Profits

Since hypnosis can be practised by anyone who is trained and experienced, there is not anything that can be readily copyrighted or patented. Drug companies, by their nature, will look to create medicines that can be sold at a profit as the single solution to a problem and would not therefore consider any ‘talking-cures’ as remedies for consideration. In consequence there is minimal funding for medical research into the benefits of hypnosis, since why would a drug company spend money on something they cannot patent?

It is also unlikely they would ever sponsor research into hypnosis since if the research indicated that a ‘talking-cure’ was more effective, safer and less costly than their preferred approach, their business model would cease to be profitable in double-quick time.

Can hypnosis ‘cure’ my cancer?

No-one can guarantee that hypnosis or hypnotherapy will cure someone of cancer, just as no doctor or specialist would ever guarantee that their medical intervention will guarantee a cure and you should treat any such statements with the scepticism they deserve.

For many years, however, there have been doctors who have acknowledged that for all their technical knowledge, it is the mind of their patient that determines the success, or failure, of any treatment.

Hypnosis can, however, help you to uncover the reasons why your body and mind together took the actions that resulted in your cancer and from that place of understanding and awareness you will be able to take action to minimise it chances of re-occurrence.

When we find ourselves with bottled-up emotions, feelings that we can’t or don’t know how to express, then those feels have to find an outlet. At the lower levels this might simply mean we feel down or sad, whereas at the extreme end of this spectrum it is possible that we can create illnesses within our bodies and one of those is cancer.

Sometimes clients have an idea, a feeling as to how and why their cancer started. Some clients even comment that they felt they deserved it, as if they were the black sheep of the family, always second best or not good enough.

Even then, however, there is often a level of emotional blockage that’s still there within and when that’s released it is possible to feel stronger and more focused than before.


The concepts around what hypnosis or isn’t and what it can or cannot achieve have been tested scientifically over many years in many countries. One of the most difficult elements to control for during tests is that the style of hypnosis and the skills of the hypnotist can increase or decrease the results achieved, whereas with normal medical approaches, the person carrying out the procedure does not affect the result. A tablet is a tablet whoever provides it.

This is why it is very difficult for strict scientifically controlled and statistically accurate repeatable tests to be carried out to show the benefits of hypnosis.

It is worth noting, however, that statistically significant results from pharmaceutical trials are not of themselves free from bias or different interpretations and for many drugs subsequent research has reversed the findings of earlier research. Thee are also instances of drug companies suppressing or withholding results from trials or revising the objectives of trials when their drug has not performed as they had originally envisaged.

Notwithstanding this, there has been research carried out to analyse the benefits of hypnosis related to cancer patients and you will find specific details of those research articles and books at the bottom of this page.

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Nobody should find themselves under any more stress than necessary whilst going through cancer, which is why I offer all hypnotherapy and coaching clients who are going through cancer treatment, or their carers, a very significant reduction on my usual fee rates. Please feel free to about contact me me and I will be pleased to discuss this further. There’s more general information about fees and payments here.

Would my medical insurance cover this?

Previous clients have obtained reimbursement from their health insurance policies for my services and if you wish to investigate this for yourself I am happy to provide you with details of my professional membership and current insurance policies. Please note however, that you will need to pay for your sessions yourself and claim back any payments from your insurance company afterwards.

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I am sure that some people reading this would disagree with some, if not all of what I have written. “How dare you accuse me of causing my own cancer!” they might shout. “Do you think I wanted this to happen to me?” they acclaim. And if that’s what you’re thinking then that’s ok, anger is a valid emotion, perhaps one you’ve been holding onto for too long.

I’m not suggesting that anyone has done this to themselves consciously. Nobody plans to ‘get’ cancer. However, on an unconscious level, by putting up with too much for too long, or going against your inner desires for life you have continued to keep pushing your mind and body out of balance and together they have voiced their discontent, in the most drastic and visceral way that they know.

Many people who have come though cancer approach the next phase of their life in a very different way. They let go of many things that they previously feel were “must do’s” or “should do’s” and then found a clearer life-path to follow.

Discover how quickly you can change your life. Call me on 07563 674275 or complete my contact form and I’ll get back in touch ASAP.

Reference articles Hypnosis and Cancer

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Montgomery, G. H., Bovbjerg, D. H., Schnur, J. B., D David, Goldfarb, A., Weltz, C. R., Schechter, C., Graff-Zivin, J., Tatrow, K., Price, D. D. & Silverstein, J. H. (2007) A Randomized Clinical Trial of a Brief Hypnosis Intervention to Control Side Effects in Breast Surgery Patients. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 99, 1304-1312.

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Pinnell, C. M. & Covino, N. A. (2000) Empirical findings on the use of hypnosis in medicine: A critical review. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 48, 170-194.

Richardson J, Smith JE, McCall G, Richardson A, Pilkington K, Kirsch I. “Hypnosis for nausea and vomiting in cancer chemotherapy: a systematic review of the research evidence.” Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2007 16(5):402-12.

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Schnur, J. B., Bovbjerg, D. H., David, D., Tatrow, K., Goldfarb, A. B., Silverstein, J. H., Weltz, C. R. & Montgomery, G. H. (2007) Hypnosis decreases presurgical distress in excisional breast biopsy patients. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 106, 440-444.

Steggles, S., Maxwell, J. & AL., N. E. L. E. (1997) Hypnosis and cancer: An annotated bibliography 1985-1995. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 39, (3) 187-200.

Syrjala, K. L., Cummings, C. & Donaldson, G. W. (1992) Hypnosis or cognitive behavioural training for the reduction of pain and nausea during cancer treatment: A controlled clinical trial. Pain, 48, 137-146.

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Walker, L. G. (1999) Psychological interventions, host defences and survival. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, 15, 236-281.

Wester W.C. and O’Grady D. J. (1991). Clinical Hypnosis with Children. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Further reading Hypnosis and Cancer

Benson H. (1975). The Relaxation Response

Kubler-Ross, E. (1969) On Death and Dying, New York, MacMillan.

Le Shan L. (1980) You Can Fight For Your Life

Martin, P. (1998) The Sickening Mind

Parkhill S. C. Answer Cancer

Siegel, B. (1986). Love, Medicine and Miracles Arrow Books

Simonton O.C., Matthews-Simonton S. and Creighton J.L., (1978). Getting well again J.P. Tarcher