HEALTH: ‘Therapy helped me through chemo’

Emma Cannon, 49, is married with two daughters and practises as an integrated fertility specialist in London. In 2005, Emma was diagnosed with breast cancer and used a combination of complementary therapies to support her through treatment at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London.

A long-standing lump in my left breast was eventually diagnosed as breast cancer. It had spread into seven lymph nodes. My consultant prescribed surgery [lumpectomy], chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

I felt that, while conventional medical treatment would address the cancer, I would also need complementary therapies to keep me strong and help me tolerate the invasive regime. I use the same approach with my fertility work – it’s about using both together for the best result.

I was more afraid of the chemotherapy than the cancer, and knew I had to change my mindset. Internal conflict can cause tension in the body and I believe that can limit our capacity to heal. So, rather than treating the experience as a battle, I tried to see cancer as my teacher and learn from it.



I had hypnotherapy before each of the ten sessions, plus acupuncture before and after. I also visualised my blood counts recovering between each session. My chemo was never held up and I was able to work and carry on much as normal. The doctors were surprised at how well I coped.

But my hair fell out. On one of my lowest days, some friends came round, put on my wig and made me look pretty. We went for a walk down the King’s Road in Chelsea and I felt I had my mojo back. Then something amazing happened. A man pulled up in his car and asked me out to dinner. I said: ‘You have no idea what this means to me. I will remember you for the rest of my life – but I can’t have dinner with you.’

Not everyone will survive cancer, just as not everyone will be able to have a baby. At times, I would look at my children and think: ‘Will I live?’ I found that, sometimes, we discover our deepest resources during the most difficult times – and that can be transformational.

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