This group consists of a total of 24 patients confirmed to be suffering from the pain of their disease.
This group varied in age from 17 to 60 years .The diagnoses in these patients were Carcinomas of the Cervix (9), Breast (6), and one each of Ovary, Uterus, Urinary Bladder, Testicle, Prostate, Larynx and Lung. There was also one case of Leukemia and one of Multiple Myeloma
% Relief of Pain --- % of Group
75% - 100% --- 29%
50% - 75% --- 25%
25% - 50% --- 4%
No change --- 2%
This table shows that more than 50% of these patients experienced some degree of pain relief. It also noted that the number of reinforcement sessions varied in this group from none to as many as 5 sessions, with an average of 2.3 reinforcements per patient. Time spent with these patients varied from 15 minutes to 3 hours, The majority of patients were treated within 60 minutes.
The next table shows the time of effectiveness for the 14 patients in this group during their hospital stay.
% of Pain Relief ---Time of Effectiveness
75% - 100%---2 to 12 weeks
50% - 75% --- 2 days to 6 weeks
25% - 50% --- 3 days
During the course of this study two interesting findings were noted. The first, none of these patients, whether considered success of failure, required a surgical procedures for pain relief during a nine month period that the author was able to follow the course of their disease. Secondly, all patients in the failure group continued to use the same dosage, of the narcotic drug, being administered when the hypnotic suggestions were first given. [They did not require higher doses of the narcotic as would normally be expected, with time]
It is worthy of note that observations by nurses and colleagues were considered more important than that of the authorís in these evaluations.
The next table lists the four categories of hypnotic suggestion previously mentioned and shows the distribution within the group of 73 patients according to the extent of their response. [The hypnotic suggestions concerned the mood of the patients, their activities, appetite and overall attitudes.]
Excellent ------ 30 (41%)
Good ------------20 (27.5%)
68% of this total series appeared to have a good or excellent response to post-hypnotic suggestions.These suggestions proved to be invaluable as an aid to Nurses and members of the house staff caring for these patients.
DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
The anxieties of "not knowing" often cause the variety of reactions seen in the patient with malignant disease. Fortunately, the vast majority handle their problems well, possibly as a result of family support and/or religious conviction.
Hypnotic suggestion gave these patients a measure of control over the "frightening unknown", of how and what I would feel/suffer" if I must die from my disease". It also appeared to support the hope that a cure will be found before too long.
In any event, the student of Medical Hypnosis will witness in most of these patients an unqualified cooperation and the utmost in motivation combined with a satisfactory imaginative ability that allows their induction into a hypnotic trance to be relatively easy. Of course, one is also confronted with the patient who says, "Letís face it, words just canít help me".
At first, it was confusing to find that an individual who entered deep trance state might be unable to obtain relief of pain while another, who was at best in a light state, experienced complete pain relief.
When it is realized, however, that an individual may believe that this disease is a form of punishment from God; that this suffering may reward him or her with "eternal life" after death then one can realize that such patients cannot and will not accept pain-relieving suggestions.
When one understands that relief of pain could mean being sent home, for a young woman with the offensive odor urine and fecal leakage, one can understand why hypnosis might fail.
If relief of pain means that a young father has to face his family in a wheel chair, needs to have someone clean him after each bowel movement, or help him wash his scarred/deteriorating body then relief of pain may be undesirable and the hospital serves as a refuge.
If one learns that a completely bedridden patient cannot financially afford or arrange for someone to render the necessary care at home, failure is easier to understand.
All patients classified as failures were notified, if at anytime in the future they felt they could derive help through Hypnosis; it would be available. Interestingly, only two patients requested help at a later date.
Self hypnosis was taught without hesitation to terminal cases. The author could see no contraindication. It was also firmly suggested, to all patients, they would be able to help themselves, at any time, and would not always need the presence of the Therapist.
This study demonstrated that a place exists for the use of hypnotic suggestion in the care of patients with malignant disease. Its use for the relief of pain and mood elevation proved sufficiently successful, not unduly time consuming, and free of complications or morbidity. It is especially indicated for pain relief in the patient whose life expectancy is short or for whom chemical and surgical approaches are not suitable.
The time required is not impractical for the trained Physician and other properly licensed health care providers to administer/support the use of this treatment modality. The success of this effort requires a "team like" participation of all those involved in the care of these patients. Most initial inductions are completed in less than one hour and reinforcement sessions in five to fifteen minutes.
In the author's opinion, "The benefits of Medical Hypnosis for the patient suffering with a malignant disease is not in doubt. Rather, it is the patient's willingness to receive its benefits that raises the questions. Either way the choice is theirs and must be respected."
The full report of this research study is available:
Vincent W Cangello, MD,
"Hypnosis for the Patient with Cancer",
THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL HYPNOSIS
April, 1962; Volume IV, Number 4, Pages 215-228