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Massage and Cancer

Touch through massage Holding hands, hugging or sitting close to someone are ways a person with cancer can receive touch. You can also receive touch through massage.
Massage can reduce anxiety and pain, decrease nausea, and improve energy and wellbeing. Touch through massage is a way to communicate love or care, and to help re-connect with yourself and others. It can also create a nurturing environment.
As well as improving physical symptoms, some people with cancer say that having a massage:Hospice driver photo3 | StudioXPhys

  • makes them feel whole again
  • helps them to relax
  • helps them share feelings in an informal setting
  • makes them feel more positive about their body
  •  rebuilds hope.

Research shows that massage of muscle and soft tissue does not spread cancer cells. Individuals who have had massages during cancer treatments have reported a range of positive outcomes such as improvements in:

  • sleep
  • the health of the scar tissue
  • quality of life
  • mental clarity and alertness
  • the range of movement

Light, relaxing massage can safely be given to people at all stages of cancer. Tumour or treatment sites should not be massaged to avoid discomfort or pressure on the affected area and underlying organs. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor or call Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

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