Questions about massage and cancer:
- Massage Therapy for cancer patients and caregivers?
- Is Massage Therapy safe for cancer patients?
- What adjustments will be made for cancer patients?
CANCER AND MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage Therapy for cancer patients and caregivers?
Massage is rapidly gaining support in the oncology community for its documented benefits for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society and reputable hospitals across the country now advocate massage for people at all stages of treatment and beyond: diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
- Relaxation and improved sleep
- Pain relief
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Decreased edema and lymphedema
- Decreased side effects from chemo and radiation (reduced fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite)
- Faster surgical recovery
- Massage therapy can help reduce stress, fears, and pain – all of this without side effects
"...it makes patients feel better and allows them to better deal with their illness or treatment. I look forward to the day when this feature is available to all appropriate patients in our hospital."
- Roger E. Alberty, M.D., Director, Department of Surgery
St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Portland, Oregon
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Is Massage Therapy safe for cancer patients?
Massage for people with cancer or cancer histories must be tailored for comfort and safety.
Oncology Massage therapists are trained to provide a safe, healing touch for cancer of every type and at every stage of treatment. These therapists know how to make accommodations for low white blood cell counts, low platelets, lymphedema, bone fragility, central lines and other medical devices, and other side effects of treatment.
We work with patients and their medical providers to make massage a nurturing experience that enhances the healing process, even for those who are seriously ill.
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What adjustments will be made for cancer patients?
Depending on a patient’s history, a Therapist trained in Massage Oncology might make the following adjustments to accommodate conditions related to cancer or cancer treatment:
- A change in body position to accommodate surgical incisions, medical devices, nausea or pain
- Avoidance of areas on the body that are sensitive due to radiation, medical devices or surgery
- Adjustment of pressure to prevent easy bruising, blood clots, swelling, fragile bones, pain, and/or fatigue