Cancer and Massage Therapy Part III: Advanced Session Planning
Massage General Courses

Cancer and Massage Therapy Part III: Advanced Session Planning

Author(s): Julie Goodwin

4CE credits 14 Lessons Text

Despite many advances in care, cancer treatment can be invasive, painful and even frightening. Explore the crucial role massage therapists can play and what you need to know, as part of your client’s cancer care team. Gain an in-depth understanding for how cancer develops and spreads, and the range of treatments now available.

Create effective and personalized massage therapy session plans for cancer patients by learning the important cautions and contraindications, how to conduct intake sessions, and appropriate touch techniques. Consider your own self-care as you support clients coping with cancer.

When you finish this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how cancer develops and spreads, and why elders are at greater risk for developing cancer.
  • Assess the range of treatments available for cancer and how to work as part of your client’s cancer care team.
  • Apply general guidelines, follow cautions and contraindications, conduct an effective intake interview and create a safe, effective massage therapy session plan for a client diagnosed with cancer.
  • Utilize non-taxing touch techniques, practice safe positioning, draping and lubricant techniques and accommodate medication and cancer treatment side effects and assistive devices.
  • Create a massage therapy session plan following cancer recovery.
  • Provide palliative touch for clients at the end of life, and practice self-care during and following the loss of a client to cancer.

  1. Introduction
  2. Cancer Etiology
  3. Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
  4. Types and Characteristics of Tumors: Benign and Malignant
  5. After a Cancer Diagnosis: Possible Cancer Treatments
  6. Cancer Diagnostic Tools
  7. Cancer Staging and Grading Systems
  8. Cancer Treatment Methods and Delivery: What Massage Therapists Need to Know
  9. Oncology Massage Guidelines: Understanding How to Work Effectively with Cancer Patients
  10. Massage Session Planning for the Client with Cancer
  11. Side Effects of Cancer Treatment: What Massage Therapists Should Consider
  12. Post-Cancer and Late Stage Cancer Massage Planning and End of Life Touch
  13. References
  14. Glossary

Julie Goodwin is a longtime massage therapy educator and an NCBTMB-approved provider. She is the author of Touch & Movement: Palpation and Kinesiology for Massage Therapists and creator of