On Christmas Eve just gone, a good friend of mine died from cancer. She was just 29 years old and had been diagnosed only 6 months before.

Essentially, this article is about how hypnosis could be used for those who …now here is the tricky part….if I say “suffering from cancer” it implies that those who have cancer are going to suffer- and I want you to know that doesn’t have to be the case. “Living with cancer” almost gives the disease form and makes it sound like a thing that is sitting in the persons’ living room, drinking their Earl Grey tea. And “cancering themselves” is probably the most accurate since those who have cancer have grown it themselves; but I always think it sounds a little bit as if I am saying “It’s your own fault you’ve ended up with this disease- you’re doing it to yourself.” “Fighting cancer” sounds like hard work and nobody really likes to have a fight, so let’s go with “Dancing with cancer” which I once heard somebody say and thought sounded quite eloquent.

I once visited the Cancer Research Centre in the UK and it was a truly fascinating experience. There was a very informative presentation about how cancer forms, which in skin cancer for example is caused by the over development of the nucleus within a cell. This causes the rapid growth of cells, which shows up at the same time as all of the regular cells redeveloping. The development of the extra cells puts stress on the system and sometimes the cells may break off and move to another area of the body. The reason could be because of an error in the genetic makeup of the cell or from and external cause or from wrong programming within the cell. Our immune system usually recognises this happening and sorts it out, but if it happens very rapidly, it can lead to the formation of cancer. I was particularly interested in how stress and cancer are linked, and although the scientists couldn’t say there was any direct link, they did point out the factors that could be involved in the stress that may then have an impact on the forming of the cancer. For example, those that are stressed may not be sleeping or eating properly and this could cause the cancer to begin or worsen. In addition, some studies have concluded that some peoples cancer becomes worse once they are told of the existence of the cancer. This could be the stress response to the news.

In addition, DHS (Dirk Hamer Syndrome) suggests the link between cancer and an unexpected shock. When a patient receives a shock it causes a lesion in a specific area of the brain. The brain then sends a biochemical message to the corresponding body part causing changes in cell formation to occur. Dr Hamer who made these discoveries has studied over 40,000 cases and been able to confirm links between cancer and unexpected shock.

Hypnosis can be beneficial to cancer patients to help them to alleviate anxiety or fear about the impact that the cancer may have. It can also be used to reduce any physical pain associated with the cancer and to stem bleeding during procedures. There is no concrete evidence to suggest that hypnosis can influence the development or progression of cancer, however as a therapeutic tool, for some, it could offer a more pleasant quality of life.

Last week whist watching television, I heard someone refer to cancer as “The Big C.” If you know anyone who speaks of cancer in this way, I’d advise them to call it “The little c” as it’s always a good idea to make problems feel smaller- it makes them easier to defeat.

My friend had had a big disruption in her life about 24 months prior to her cancer forming. I guess you could call it a shock. She called me and asked if she could come for therapy to help overcome the big shock, but she never showed up. I didn’t offer her therapy again, it’s just a rule I have- if people want therapy then they’ll show up for their sessions but I won’t chase them if they don’t show up. I think if you have something that has caused you emotional distress, it’s a good idea to get that thing sorted, talk to someone, get some therapy if you have to.

It might just save your life.


By Gemma Bailey