Weekly sessions of Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy can decrease the frequency and severity of hot flashes, night sweats and other menopausal symptoms commonly accompanying a breast cancer treatment, findings of a new study suggest.
According to results published in an early online publication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, hypnosis appears to reduce perceived hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and may have additional benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression, and improved sleep.
As breast cancer survivors are more prone to enter menopause early, hot flashes, night sweats and other conditions can pose a significant problem.
Moreover, as such patients cannot be administered Hormone Replacement Therapy over concerns of cancer re-growth, antidepressants remain the only course of action. However, out of concern over side-effects women opt not to take such drugs.
“This is a very encouraging study of hypnosis as a treatment for hot flashes in breast cancer survivors,” noted Dr. Ted Gansler, Director of Medical Content at the American Cancer Society.
“This is an important topic because of the high prevalence of these symptoms in breast cancer survivors, and because few other treatment options are both safe and effective for this population,” he added.
“There is a real need to study emerging mind-body interactions to treat these ailments because many times medications are not an option,” said study’s lead researcher, Dr. Gary Elkins, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University.
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