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What are the contraindications for cancer? When is it okay to massage or not to massage? I always get someone after they are in remission. Not before. So what do u do when a client says the cancer that was in my breast has now spread to my bones??? (the breast cancer was thought to have been gone for years now) This is really concerning... What do you say? What do you do? Want to know in case this ever happens to me....

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Hey Jacqueline,

Massage is fine for clients with cancer with several precautions.

1) Obtain physician clearance. If permission is granted, ask the physician about primary and secondary tumor sites.

2) Massage over the tumor sites, cancerous lesions (e.g., skin carcinomas), and enlarged lymph nodes are contraindicated.

3) Metastatic cancer must be considered. For example, if cancer has spread to the bones, bone integrity may be affected. In these cases, deep pressure, traction, and joint mobilizations may be contraindicated or only cautiously used.

4) Ask exactly what signs/symptoms and quality of those symptoms your client is experiencing each time he or she receives a massage so you can tailor treatment.

5) Educate yourself thoroughly regarding the type of cancer your client has and the treatments he or she is undergoing. The field of cancer is constantly evolving and it is vital to keep up-to-date with new developments.

6) Ascertain what type of treatments are used, if any, and make appropriate modifications. Ask if medical treatments have altered the level of activity or prohibited any activities, or if your client’s energy levels go through cycles based on the treatment the client is receiving, or the hours of the day. These questions can help you and your client decide on the best days and times for massage. Massage would best be performed on your client’s high-energy days and times.

7) Accepting your client’s appearance unconditionally without judgment. Be respectful of what your client is going through.

8) Last, but not least... approach your client with cancer with lots and loving care.

I hope this helps.
Thank you, Susan and yes it helps. I just found out about this client today and it concerned me that she was being seen without a physician's clearance. I informed the therapist that he should tell her to do so and more so since she has decided to go the holistic way of fighting it (which I am also not aware of, she is not a regular of mine). I will be looking for more info on the type of cancer and treatment she is going through. Thanks again.

Btw just got the latest version of Pathology for Massage Therapist. Loving it thus far. thank you for your devotion to the Massage Profession.

Susan G. Salvo said:
Hey Jacqueline,

Massage is fine for clients with cancer with several precautions.

1) Obtain physician clearance. If permission is granted, ask the physician about primary and secondary tumor sites.

2) Massage over the tumor sites, cancerous lesions (e.g., skin carcinomas), and enlarged lymph nodes are contraindicated.

3) Metastatic cancer must be considered. For example, if cancer has spread to the bones, bone integrity may be affected. In these cases, deep pressure, traction, and joint mobilizations may be contraindicated or only cautiously used.

4) Ask exactly what signs/symptoms and quality of those symptoms your client is experiencing each time he or she receives a massage so you can tailor treatment.

5) Educate yourself thoroughly regarding the type of cancer your client has and the treatments he or she is undergoing. The field of cancer is constantly evolving and it is vital to keep up-to-date with new developments.

6) Ascertain what type of treatments are used, if any, and make appropriate modifications. Ask if medical treatments have altered the level of activity or prohibited any activities, or if your client’s energy levels go through cycles based on the treatment the client is receiving, or the hours of the day. These questions can help you and your client decide on the best days and times for massage. Massage would best be performed on your client’s high-energy days and times.

7) Accepting your client’s appearance unconditionally without judgment. Be respectful of what your client is going through.

8) Last, but not least... approach your client with cancer with lots and loving care.

I hope this helps.
Thanks Jade – cancer, like fibromyalgia, is such a fascinating topic.

I love that more attention is brought to these topics.

So many clients (and therapists) are dealing with these conditions.

We need to more aware…


Jade Edwards said:
Susan,
As usual...nice feedback!

JADE

Susan G. Salvo said:
Hey Jacqueline,

Massage is fine for clients with cancer with several precautions.

1) Obtain physician clearance. If permission is granted, ask the physician about primary and secondary tumor sites.

2) Massage over the tumor sites, cancerous lesions (e.g., skin carcinomas), and enlarged lymph nodes are contraindicated.

3) Metastatic cancer must be considered. For example, if cancer has spread to the bones, bone integrity may be affected. In these cases, deep pressure, traction, and joint mobilizations may be contraindicated or only cautiously used.

4) Ask exactly what signs/symptoms and quality of those symptoms your client is experiencing each time he or she receives a massage so you can tailor treatment.

5) Educate yourself thoroughly regarding the type of cancer your client has and the treatments he or she is undergoing. The field of cancer is constantly evolving and it is vital to keep up-to-date with new developments.

6) Ascertain what type of treatments are used, if any, and make appropriate modifications. Ask if medical treatments have altered the level of activity or prohibited any activities, or if your client’s energy levels go through cycles based on the treatment the client is receiving, or the hours of the day. These questions can help you and your client decide on the best days and times for massage. Massage would best be performed on your client’s high-energy days and times.

7) Accepting your client’s appearance unconditionally without judgment. Be respectful of what your client is going through.

8) Last, but not least... approach your client with cancer with lots and loving care.

I hope this helps.

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