There are clear medical thought processes by which physicians authorize participation in school athletics, approve return to work after surgery, prescribe physical therapy and many others. Massage therapy is practiced in many different ways by therapists with many different levels of training.
A growing number of physicians welcome massage therapy for their patients, but it is not realistic to expect them to be aware of all the variations. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the therapist to practice ethically and within his/her training and experience. A doctor's order is not a replacement for sound judgment on the part of a massage therapist. Even with a doctor's order it is best for the client/patient to see a trained oncology massage therapist who will know the appropriate questions to ask to make safe adjustments to the massage and who will often include the physician in the massage care plan conversation if needed.