Hypnosis could help reduce anxiety around medical procedures in children and young people with cancer.
Research led by the University of Exeter has found promising evidence that hypnosis can reduce the fear and worry associated with injections and other needle procedures in children suffering cancer.
These procedures, unsurprisingly, can often provoke more anxiety in children and young people than the cancer itself and bring great anguish to parents and families.
Working with the Devon Integrated Children's Service, the university researchers analysed all the evidence available on ways to reduce this anxiety without using drugs.
Professor Tamsin Ford, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Getting a cancer diagnosis as a child is clearly extremely distressing for both the young person and their family. We must do all we can do to improve their mental health during this highly emotional time. Hypnosis is inexpensive to deliver, and our research found promise that it could help to reduce the fear and anxiety of multiple needle procedures. We now need high quality trials to demonstrate whether hypnosis should be adopted in clinics.”
The team also looked at evidence around music therapy, virtual reality and cognitive behavioural therapy, however the research was contradictory.
The paper, Effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions to reduce procedural anxiety in children and adolescents undergoing treatment for cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis, is published in Psycho-Oncology. Authors were Michael Nunns, Dominic Mayhew, Tamsin Ford, Morwenna Rogers, Christine Curle, Stuart Logan, and Darren Moore.
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