The emotional burden of a cancer diagnosis can be as debilitating as the disease itself. A group of doctors at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston will soon study psychedelic treatments for trauma.
team of doctors, Wrote commentary published this month To International Journal of Gynecologic Canceremphasized the experience of women in particular.[Women] Gynecologic cancer patients face a variety of physical and psychological challenges during treatment. ”
“In addition to the chronic side effects of treatment, the poor prognostic late stage often leaves women with survival anxiety due to an unpredictable disease course and constant fear of death,” the researchers wrote, referring to a recent case of a patient in her late 30s with terminal ovarian cancer (identified as “JN” in the commentary) who was seen at a Houston facility.
“JN has two children who were diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer just one year ago and now suffer from multiple bowel obstructions,” they wrote. “‘Her fears for her future were real and overwhelming. Despite the variety of successful meaning-based research that has been done to address the pain of cancer patients, and the more traditional and representative cognitive-behavioral therapies, many of them have had to spend a great deal of time changing old habits, and JN simply does not have the time or energy to do such work.’
“JN is not alone, as up to a quarter of ovarian cancer patients report depression, anxiety and fear of death,” the doctors added. “This is not unique to ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, many gynecologic cancers are diagnosed in young women, adding to the burden of anxiety and fear and often associated with the fact that young children may lose their mothers.”
These physicians announced that they will begin a trial next year at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to “examine the effects of psilocybin on maintenance therapy in patients with advanced, controlled cancer who have mental health challenges.”
“Psychedelics, especially psilocybin, have shown promise in treating a variety of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and end-of-life distress,” the doctors wrote. “Although studies focused on gynecologic cancers are not yet complete, studies on mixed cancer diagnoses are promising.”
Psychedelics “modulate brain activity and are associated with therapeutic effects such as increased neuroplasticity and modulation of reward pathways, which do not resemble the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic mechanisms of conventional antidepressants,” the researchers said, but studies with psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy “suggest sustained effects in just one or two sessions compared to the chronic use required with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.”
A recent study published by Cambridge University Press found that psilocybin adjuvant therapy may be a “cost-effective” option compared to other treatments.
“When the cost of supporting therapists was reduced by 50% and the price of psilocybin was reduced from the original price of £400 to £800 per person, psilocybin was shown to be cost-effective compared to other treatments. From a social perspective, psilocybin was more cost-effective compared to a medical perspective,” the researchers wrote.
Another study published in the spring found that psilocybin mushrooms could be an effective treatment for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“There is preliminary evidence from patient studies that psilocybin can help OCD patients. “In another study, we showed that a drug called buspirone, used to treat anxiety, blocks symptoms equivalent to psychedelic trips in mice, and another investigator showed a similar effect in humans.