Pure Pro has teamed up with The Touch, Caring and Cancer Program to address the sensitive issue of touch and cancer. Together we provide up-to-date, accurate, and useful information to caregivers, patients, and bodyworkers.
The Touch, Caring and Cancer Program, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, was developed to help family and friends learn safe and effective ways to provide comfort to cancer patients with the simple use of touch. One of the most important reasons for the project was that many caregivers are reluctant to touch people with cancer for fear of causing harm. As a result, patients often suffer from lack of touch when they could benefit the most.
Check out this blog post for helpful ways to comfort a loved one with cancer. See below to watch a trailer from the instructional DVD: Touch, Caring and Cancer (YouTube video clip)
Cancer, Massage and Lymphedema by William A. Collinge
The Touch, Caring and Cancer Program, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, was developed to help family and friends learn safe and effective ways to provide comfort to cancer patients with the simple use of touch. One of the most important reasons for the project was that many caregivers are reluctant to touch people with cancer for fear of causing harm. As a result, patients often suffer from lack of touch when they could benefit the most. Concern over the presence of lymphedema is one of the reasons often cited for avoiding massage in cancer – even among some massage therapists and medical providers. Yet with proper understanding, lymphedema need not be a reason to withhold the comfort of touch.
While breast cancer may be the first cancer most people think of regarding lymphedema, removal of lymph nodes from other areas besides under the arm also calls for precautions. For example, many people have nodes removed in the neck related to head, neck or throat cancers. In this case the use of manual techniques on that side of the head or face should be used with caution.
The following is an excerpt from the chapter on Safety Precautions in the manual that accompanies the new DVD program for home instruction, Touch, Caring and Cancer: Simple Instruction for Family and Friends (see trailer of the DVD just below):
“People at risk of lymphedema are sometimes advised to avoid putting stress on an area with lifting, blood pressure readings, sauna or hot tub, tight clothing, overuse of muscles, or other restrictions. If this applies to you, then massage with pressure should also be avoided in that area. Talk with your doctor about your risk of lymphedema and what precautions apply. It is likely that a little massage with soft, gentle hands, with just the pressure of applying lotion, is acceptable.
“The risk of lymphedema from surgery and radiation is still being studied, so ask your doctor about this even if you have not had lymph nodes removed. Figure 1 (left) shows the locations of lymph nodes that are sometimes removed or treated with radiation, and vulnerable areas of the body to treat with caution in massage.”
What is Caring Touch?
View this video trailer from The Touch, Caring and Cancer Program to learn how you too can share the healing power of touch with your loved one.
- Trailer courtesy of Partners In Healing -
Instructional DVD: Touch, Caring and Cancer Simple Instruction for Family and Friends
Many people are concerned about the use of touch in cancer possibly causing complications. When caregivers are concerned about this, patients may receive little or no touch when they could benefit from it the most. The reality is that there is no evidence of touch or massage spreading cancer or making it worse. There is a safe way to provide comfort through touch for anyone, no matter what their medical condition.
You have in your heart and hands the ability to reduce suffering in a loved one with cancer. Give them the gift of touch, and both of you will be rewarded.
To see video trailers of the Touch, Caring and Cancer: Simple Instruction for Family and Friends DVD program, visit www.PartnersInHealing.net. The program and trailers are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese language versions.
Over the years we have supported our colleague Tracy Walton, also a collaborator with The Touch, Caring and Cancer Program. Tracy's pioneering work in oncology massage has inspired bodyworkers, medical professionals, caregivers and patients alike.
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