Your skin is your body’s largest organ and what you put on it and how you treat it really does matter. It is also your first-line of defense against the numerous toxins and infectious organisms you come into contact with everyday. If you have cancer or have been treated for cancer in the past, these recommendations are important.
Integrative Oncologist, Dr. Brian Lawenda, highly recommends that before you head out to that spa, check that your spa therapist is trained in Oncology Esthetics® or Oncology Massage Therapy and ask your cancer doctors for recommendations and instructions on do’s and don’ts. Make sure to ask about this before you go, and schedule your appointments with those experienced therapists.
You can find trained and certified spa therapists in your local area on the therapist directories here:
International Society of Oncology Estheticians
Society for Oncology Massage (S4OM)
RECOMMENDATIONS AFTER CANCER TREATMENT:
Even if you are no longer undergoing cancer treatment, your skin has a memory and does not forget the damage or inflammation from the past. So you still need to be careful in how you treat it.
Radiation therapy can cause thinning of the skin in the area radiated, scarring or fibrosis (thickening of the skin), impaired circulation of blood or lymph fluid (lymphedema) and increased sensitivity to chemicals, ultraviolet light and heat.
Cancer drugs can cause scarring of the skin or make the skin more sensitive to chemicals and ultraviolet light.
Surgery can lead to impaired blood and lymph circulation, thinning or scarring of the skin, decreased skin pliability and limitations in limb range of motion.
Treatments that include massage that use heat or friction should be avoided in the areas of the body that are undergoing cancer treatment unless approved by your cancer doctor. Dr. Lawenda recommends only using spa therapists who have experience and training in working with cancer patients as there are many issues that are pertinent to giving a massage to someone with cancer or a history of cancer. It is important that your spa therapist ask you for information pertaining to your cancer treatment in order to personalize each and every treatment you have. Different side effects can occur during treatment, so it is imperative that you share any changes that would affect the outcome of your spa treatment.
See TREATMENTS page for our special “Queen Anne Package” for oncology patients currently in treatment and patients in recent recovery.