Archive for the ‘Malignancy’ Category

Cancer and Massage

August 24, 2011

I am one of the therapists who use to be fearful of working with cancer clients. Since I took Dr. Johnson’s online course, I am no longer afraid. I realized other therapists, clients, family members, and healthcare professionals had a fear of cancer clients taking massage therapy.

I learned that massage actually benefits cancer client. We as therapist can teach family members some basic techniques and this helps them with their fears and assist them in providing compassion to their loved one.

We can also teach clients to feel better with self-massage.

Finally, a big shock to me was that we can teach healthcare professional about the benefits of massage. And thereby allow prescriptions for massage clients.

In our class, we used Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapist by Susan G. Salvo.

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December 1, 2010

Review of Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists, 2nd edition, by Salvo and Anderson. Within the course of Dr. Johnson.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the US. The American Cancer Society advocates for massage therapy for cancer patients to assist in comfort and improving quality of life. The leading site for cancer in women are the breast, while the prostate is the leading site for men. Another name for a tumor is neoplasm. The study of malignant tumors is called oncology. Angiogenesis is the ability of cancer cells to develop a vascular network which allows for tumor growth and access to the bloodstream. The key component for cancer cell invasion is the ability for the cancer cells to migrate. The lymphatic system and bloodstream are the most common routes used for metasis. Benefits of massage for cancer patients include boosting of the immune system, reduction or prevention of edema, decrease nausea, reduction of fatigue, assistance with quality of life and survival of skin during radiation therapy. When servicing cancer patients, it is advisable to also address any other medical conditions. Massages should be scheduled during high energy times and deep, vigorous massage should be avoided. It is vital to note for fatigue and discomfort during massage. Current methods of treatment for cancer patients include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The chapter concludes with an overview of types of cancer in various regions of the body.

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Massage considerations for patients undergoing chemotherapy

August 19, 2010

Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy endure several side effects which a massage therapist should be aware of and make modifications to the treatment plan. One side effect is infection. If the client, massage therapist, or someone from the household of the therapist has an infection, the massage should be postponed. Anemia is another side effect of chemotherapy. If the client is anemic, treatment time should be no longer than 30 minutes, pressure should be light and you may have to adjust the position of the body depending on the symptoms. A common side effect of chemotherapy is nausea. If the client is nauseated, use a semi reclined position and light pressure. Avoid scents such as aromatherapy oils since this can further nauseate a client. As always, continue constant dialogue with the client regarding how they are feeling, if any new side effects have appeared, and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

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August 10, 2010

Cancer is becoming more common in this country by the day. As a result, the amount of cancer patients receiving massage therapy is also on the rise. When a therapist begins seeing a patient with cancer, the therapist needs to find out what treatment the client is taking for the cancer, if any at all. If the patient is undergoing treatment, the therapist needs to modify massage according to the type of treatment being administered. Comfort is a big issue, as is energy level of the patient. Massage therapy should be administered when the patient is the most likely to be having a high energy level day, such as on days when the patient is not receiving treatment. In general, the massage therapist should be especially aware of any abnormalities that present during therapy sessions and seek the approval of the physician treating the cancer if the patient presents with any unusual symptoms.

Brain Cancer

July 30, 2010

I have shadowed therapists a few times, and on one of the occasions, the patient was a two year old boy who had just had a cancerous brain tumor removed. He was having some sensory difficulties, so the therapist and I worked with him. This was actually a fairly difficult process, but we did get him to do it. It was interesting to watch how this little boy who had just had such major surgery and was recovering from cancer worked. It was amazing though to see how the therapist worked with him and helped him overcome some of the sensory barriers.

Cancer Patient

July 23, 2010

Massage Therapy can be beneficial to a patient suffering from cancer. A properly informed therapist can reduce muscle tension, decrease pain, promote relaxation, and improve sleep. There has also been evidence that massage builds up immune function, reduces or prevents edema, reduces nausea, decreases tiredness, and might even aid in the endurance of skin after radiation therapy. Muscles also experience positive effects from the massage.
The massage therapist can also help the patient through teaching. Due to the patient’s physical or emotional state, he may prefer to receive massage from a partner or to do massage on himself. The therapist can teach the patient or partner how to properly perform massages that may be helpful.
A patient with cancer is going through a very difficult time; a sensitively, well-informed massage therapist can make a difference in the patient’s life.


July 19, 2010

Review of Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists, 2nd edition, by Salvo and Anderson. Within the course of Dr. Johnson.

Now cancer is a serious subject and one I have been familiar with for the past 19 years. My grandmother is a 19 year cancer survivor it started out as breast cancer and she had her breast removed as a precaution. But the cancer has now spread to her bones and she is often in pain and asking me for massages. I of course have gotten Dr.’s permission to perform light massages when she is not in chemo. But knowing what strokes I can perform and how light I have to be shows me how sensitive one needs to be when massaging a cancer patient. The chapter made it quite clear the difference between benign tumors, non harmful, and malignant tumors, and metastasizing of the tumor.
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Terminally ill patients

July 15, 2010

Patients that have been diagnosed with later stage cancer or patients that have untreatable conditions are under unimaginable emotional, physical, and spiritual stress. These cases, when physician approved, should benefit from regular relaxing massages. Regular Swedish massage can help them let go of some of the burden they carry, even if it is just for an hour a week. If they are able to be in a better mood, this will help the situation at home with family as well. The therapist should make sure he or she does a thorough intake and works closely with the physician on changes in the clients health and medications.


July 12, 2010

As a massage therapist in training, I can’t think of a more meaningful thing to do than work with cancer patients to provide comfort/relief to the patient as well as family members.

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July 8, 2010

I have one client that I currently massage about every six weeks.  She is a breast cancer survivor and has had a double mastectomy. She brings her own oil and she brings a pillow to place under her chest area when she is laying on her stomach.

Foot Massage for People with Cancer

June 2, 2010

Review of Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists 2nd edition, by Salvo and Anderson.

In Chapter 14, the subject of foot massage for cancer patients is lightly introduced. This interested me and I did a little more research into the subject. According to the article, “Easing Cancer Pain and Anxiety; The Value of a Good Foot Rub” by Shirley Vanderbilt: “More recently, researchers have turned to the foot as a receptor for massage aimed at relieving cancer pain and anxiety. In a study published in 2000, foot reflexology was described as a successful nonpharmacologic adjunct in the control of these symptoms. Basing their proposal on the foundation of previous research, a team at East Carolina University, N.C., found that patients with breast and lung cancer experienced a significant decrease in anxiety, and pain relief was expressed in one of three measures in breast cancer subjects.14 An Australian study published within months of the reflexology article also showed foot massage to decrease perception of pain and nausea and increase relaxation in hospitalized cancer patients.15 Both studies emphasized the adaptability of their approach to home and nursing care, noting the techniques could be easily learned by caretakers or self-administered by the patient.16,17 Reflexology Relief Foot massage for good health dates back to ancient Far Eastern, Egyptian and Native American cultures. While the “good old” foot rub is still very much alive today, a more refined and specifically medicinal form has found a place in alternative treatment. Reflexology began its evolution in the early 1900s with William H. Fitzgerald’s development of zone therapy. Fitzgerald noted that pressure applied at various points produced an analgesic effect on corresponding body parts.18 Eunice Ingham refined the technique, identifying sensitive “reflex points” by mapping out parts of the body on specifically defined areas of the foot. Ingham’s approach expanded the treatment beyond its singular use for pain, noting other therapeutic benefits could be achieved as well.19 When the N.C. research team set out to study reflexology for cancer patients, they noted while a variety of nonpharmacologic treatments had been tested in cancer studies, none of those reported had included reflexology. A 1991 study by Ferrell et al showed a decrease in cancer pain, following foot massage and reflexology, had been noted to reduce anxiety in a study on premenstrual symptoms (Oleson and Flocco, 1993).20 Using the Original Ingham Method, the N.C. team developed a “quasi-experimental, pre/post, crossover trial with patients serving as their own control.”21 This approach entailed having one group of patients first serve as control, the other as intervention and then allowing a minimum of 48 hours to lapse before alternating the patients’ assigned groups. The sample group of 23 patients (majority female) with breast or lung cancer were recruited from an inpatient oncology unit. Of the 13 with breast cancer, 10 had metasticized, there were five cases of metasteses in the remaining 10 with lung cancer. Researchers excluded cases involving recent surgery, radiation to the site of pain, those reporting no anxiety and those potentially experiencing acute rather than chronic pain. A medical consultation was required by oncologists prior to treatment of patients with symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. In cases of lower limb circulatory problems, those areas of the foot associated with the diseased body part were avoided during reflexology.22 At the beginning and end of each 30-minute session, relaxation techniques were administered to the foot and ankle area for 10 minutes. Reflexing of areas corresponding to pain and cancer sites accounted for 15 minutes of the session with a five-minute reflexing of the entire foot to ensure coverage of all body areas. Those patients reporting no pain at the time of their intervention session were administered reflexing on points corresponding to the location of their cancer. Researchers noted, “The specific areas reflexed for breast cancer and lung cancer, (i.e., the balls of the feet and on top of the feet over the balls) are identical.”23 Results of the study were based on measurements of anxiety and pain as quantified by a visual analog scale (VAS) and the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ). Although all patients experienced pain at times during their hospitalization, it was not always present at the time of measurement. In the breast cancer group, the 11 subjects reporting pain had a significant decrease following reflexology as measured by the SF-MPQ. Because only two lung cancer patients reported pain during measurements, researchers noted “results from this group could not be calculated.” Significant decrease in anxiety was noted for both types of subjects with the greatest decrease in lung cancer patients, the majority of which were male.24 In light of the fact that 61 percent of the subjects reported pain during the study despite pharmacologic management for their symptoms, the success of the reflexology intervention to ease pain and decrease anxiety validates this approach as an effective and viable adjunctive treatment. The study team suggested, “Replication with a larger sample of a single cancer type is necessary to limit the type of pain.” In addition, they recommend comparison studies with other complementary and alternative therapies such as massage, healing touch and relaxation response.25 As noted previously, within the same year of publication of the N.C. study, a team of Australian researchers reported their findings on the use of foot massage as a complementary therapy to relieve pain and nausea in cancer patients. The mixed-gender sample group of 87 patients represented a wide range of cancer types. Although the intervention was limited (two sessions, 10 minutes each, and a third control session), results showed a significant positive effect on perception of pain, nausea and relaxation as measured with a VAS. Based on their findings, the authors recommended implementation of this approach by nurses and family members.26 Whether reflexology or a simple foot massage, these caring interventions have proven to be of great benefit to cancer patients, not only relieving the uncomfortable symptoms of their illness but also meeting a basic need for human touch.”

Cancer chapter 14

May 3, 2010

Review of Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists, 2nd edition, by Salvo and Anderson. Within the course of Dr. Johnson.

The Chapter on Cancer was informative. It was good to know about the cancers of the breasts, digestive systems, gynecologic, skin cancers etc. I know someone that just found out that his Lung cancer that he had a while back and that he went through chemo and they thought they got it all, is back now. From what I understand about his situation is he is in early stage 4, they caught it just as it left the lungs and he is taking a pill (do not know the name of it) and what it does is keep all the cancer cells that have left the lungs at bay so to speak. They will not multiply or travel as long as he takes this pill for the rest of his life. If he does stop taking it the cells will spread. Because of taking the pill he has a very bad rash on his face that should calm down after time when his body adapts better to him taking the pill. He was a smoker earlier in his life and has not smoked for years but I guess it got him anyway. I would not massage him if he asked for one, I would tell him that he has too much going on in his body right now. I liked learning about the TNM Staging and the tumor grading systems. Good knowledge to know.

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