Why is it important for my massage therapist to have oncology massage training?

"Knowing what to do, when to do it and why." Each of the following common cancer-related conditions (and others) require important adjustments be made for the client's comfort and/or safety. The massage therapist must know what particular information to gather from the client and then know how to make the corresponding adjustments.

The specific appliances, conditions and complications listed below are not things thare are covered in typical massage therapy training in the United States. Many massage therapists are taught "It's only massage.  It can't hurt." Few things could be further from the truth, but many massage therapists don't understand the realities of just how wrong that statement can be.  

Every country is different, however.  Some countries require comprehensive training for massage therapists  such that they approach massage therapy with a knowledge base not unlike that of nurses. The United States is not one of those countries.

Anemia (low red blood count)

Anticoagulant Therapy 

Ascites (fluid in the abdomen)

Bone Metastasis (spread of cancer to bones)

Breast Expander or Implant


Colostomy / Iliostomy / Jejunostomy / Urostomy 


Deep Vein Thrombosis 


Foley Catheter 

Immunosupression (immune compromised)



Leukopenia (low white blood count)


Lymph Node Enlargement 

Lymph Node Removal

Lymph Node Irradiation 

PEG or PEJ Tube 

PICC line or Port

Radiation Skin Reaction 

Radioactive Implant 

Radioactive Iodine 

Risk of Lymphedema

Skin Eruption 

Surgical Adhesions

Surgical Scarring

Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)


Upcoming Radiation