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February 16, 2005

Massage Helping Patients Cope With Cancer

Many of us were taught in school that when a client has cancer, we should not massage them for fear of encouraging the cancer to metastasize. Fortunately, old misconceptions about the effect of massage on cancer is being rubbed out and massage increasingly is available to cancer patients. Despite the fact that many in the medical field say that massage does not spread cancer, many therapists are reluctant to work on people with cancer.

"When I got diagnosed, I called my regular massage therapist that I was going to and she refused to massage me because I had cancer," she recalled.

Medical experts say there is no risk to cancer patients from massage, as long as the therapist avoids the area of the body where the cancer is present.

Luckily, at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which is part of the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, massage therapy is available and encouraged as an adjunct to cancer treatment because of the benefits it offers.

"Many patients feel fatigue, nausea, pain and anxiety," he said. "They have psycho-social issues that surround them as well as their families and massage takes a lot of that stress away. It helps them to relax."

Posted by linda at February 16, 2005 9:37 AM

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