Study: Hypnosis Reduces Cost Of Breast Cancer Surgery

A new study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has suggested that a session of hypnosis prior to breast cancer surgery can reduces the overall cost of the procedure by over $750.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found that patients who received hypnosis prior to undergoing breast cancer surgery recovered much faster from the procedure, required less medication, and experienced less anxiety, discomfort, and pain than patients who did not undergo hypnosis.

The study involved over 200 women scheduled for breast surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Each patient was randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group received a 15 minute hypnosis session which involved suggestive visual imagery, relaxation techniques, and suggestions to reduce pain, fatigue, and anxiety.

The other group did not receive hypnosis but instead received a 15 minute “attention-control” intervention which involved a supportive discussion between the therapist and patient.

Results of the trial showed that patients from the hypnosis group spend over 10 minutes less in surgery (43 minutes compared to 54 minutes for the control group). This represented a reduction in the total surgery cost of $772.71 per patient. The women in the hypnosis group also required less anesthesia during the surgery than the control group.

Furthermore, the hypnosis patients reported less severe negative effects such as pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, discomfort, emotional distress, nausea, and fatigue. Women in the hypnotized group had an average pain score of 22.4 compared to 47.8 in the control group. The nausea score of the hypnotized women was just 6.5 compared to 25.4 in the control group.

According to the authors: “Together, the combination of potential improvements in symptom burden for the hundreds of thousands of women facing breast cancer surgery each year and the economic benefit for institutions argues persuasively for the more widespread application of brief pre-surgical hypnosis,”

“We’re not going to make you sing like Madonna, we’re going to help you feel better. We’ll help you concentrate, focus your attention.” added lead researcher Dr Guy H. Montgomery, PhD who is the Associate Professor for Oncological Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.