Surgical Oncology News

This section features a sampling of news related to surgical oncology from the popular press, from press releases received, or SSO news directly pertinent to SSO members.

Hypnosis minimizes need for anesthetic and painkillers

Author: Katie Moisse, ABC News
Aug 01, 2011

Donna Gould keeps a wooden box full of memories from her decade-long battle with breast cancer -- 500 get-well cards, a lock of her hair and a black cassette tape with a dog-eared label that reads "Donna's Hypnosis Tape."

The objects remind Gould of a time when she was "literally scared to death." After enduring two lumpectomies and a bout of radiation, Gould learned she would need a mastectomy.

"Isn't it weird how the thing that scares you the most finds you?" said Gould, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50. "I just couldn't cope. I was an absolute wreck every day."

Gould said she knew her worry was only making her sicker. But the two-week wait for the dreaded procedure that would claim her breast was unbearable. Her friend, a hypnotist, suggested she try hypnosis to calm her mind and change her outlook. Willing to try anything, Gould agreed and entered a trance to the soothing sound of her friend's voice.

The technique, which starts with relaxation, can change a willing participant's mind-set though softly spoken suggestions such as "You're doing this for your health," and "You're going to be fine." For Gould, the effects of hypnosis were so powerful that a tape-recorded session, played on a portable cassette player that she clutched until moments before her surgery gave her the comfort she needed to fight cancer.

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