A study using hypnosis to help taste changes after head and neck cancer treatment (HYP-EnHANCE)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Head and neck cancers
Laryngeal cancer
Mouth (oral) cancer
Nasopharyngeal cancer
Pharyngeal cancer




Phase 1

Hypnosis might be able to help people who have changes to taste after treatment for their head and neck cancer. 

More about this trial

Many people’s sense of taste changes after treatment for a head and neck cancer. Some people also suffer from a dry mouth. These can cause difficulties with eating and drinking. This might cause them to lose weight and it can also affect their quality of life Open a glossary item as not only could they be eating less but they may avoid eating and drinking with family and friends.

Researchers think that hypnosis might be able to help people manage the changes in taste caused by treatment. 

Hypnosis puts you in a state where your body is deeply relaxed and your mind is active. It can be used to change your thoughts, feeling and behaviours by making suggestions focused around a particular image or idea.

The results of a small study showed that hypnosis helped people with a dry mouth caused by having radiotherapy for a head and neck cancer. 

In this study a person trained in hypnosis will teach you how to do self hypnosis which you can do at home. 

The aim of this study is to find if hypnosis can help people whose taste has changed after having treatment for their head and neck cancer.

Who can enter

The following bullet points list the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you. 

You may be able to join this study if you are going to the Sunderland Royal Hospital, Sunderland and have had treatment for one of the following

And you 

  • Have had treatment for your cancer with the aim to cure it
  • Have reported changes to your taste when drinking and eating 
  • Are able to express yourself well enough in English to take part 

You cannot join this study if any of these apply

  • It is known that some cancer is still left after your treatment 
  • Your cancer has come back after treatment 
  • You are having treatment to relieve symptoms caused by cancer (palliative treatment Open a glossary item)
  • You have previously been diagnosed with a major mental health condition for example bipolar disorder or schizophrenia 
  • You have another medical condition that the study team think could affect you taking part 

Trial design

This is a phase 1 study. The researchers need 10 people to join.

You are taught by a trained therapist how to do self hypnosis. This will take up to 6 sessions over 1 or 2 months. Each session will last about 45 minutes. 

During these sessions the therapist will 

  • help you feel relaxed and comfortable 
  • focus your attention to help improve the problem
  • help you to gain control of the situation in a relaxed surrounding
  • help you to learn new techniques that you can use that may improve your sense of taste and dry mouth 

At home you do self hypnosis once a day. You have an audio recording of your sessions so you can refer to them at home. 

During the study you will be invited to an interview to talk about your experience using self hypnosis. This will be before you start your hypnosis sessions and again after you have finished your sessions. You don’t have to agree to do the interview if you don’t want to. You can still take part in the study. 

The interview questions will ask about what you thought about hypnosis and whether you experienced any differences in your taste. 

The researcher will ask you to complete a questionnaire about your quality of life Open a glossary item

  • before starting treatment
  • after treatment
  • a year later

Hospital visits

All the hypnosis sessions take place at the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

If you agree to take part in the interview this will take place at a time and place convenient for you. 

Side effects

There are no known side effects of hypnosis. You are free to stop the session at any time. 

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Joanne Patterson

Supported by

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Newcastle


Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

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"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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