Mesothelioma treatment can be a painful experience.The therapies that kill cancerous cells can also kill healthy tissues, leaving patients to cope with a number of complications during recovery. Mesothelioma treatments are known to cause pain, soreness, bruising, nausea and fatigue, among other conditions.
However, these conditions can be effectively managed through palliative therapies such as therapeutic massage.
What is Massage Therapy and How Can it Help Mesothelioma Patients?
Massage therapy is specially designed for patients coping with physical symptoms. It does not aim to cure the cancer – instead, it helps improve the patient’s quality of life. In one study, cancer patients reported significant improvements in quality of life concerns after as few as three therapeutic massage sessions.
Massage therapy is a different practice than Shiatsu massage, sports massage or any other form of massage. It may incorporate some of the body manipulation techniques used in other forms of massage, but therapeutic massage is much gentler.
Mesothelioma patients will also be treated by a massage therapist who is specially trained in oncology massage.
Massage therapy focuses on the muscle groups that correlate with the symptoms a patient is having. Nausea, constipation, difficulty breathing and coughing may all be improved in mesothelioma patients who pursue massage, as well as fatigue and anxiety.
Although various studies offer differing results on how well these cancer symptoms are relieved by massage, they tend to agree that the therapy can effectively address cancer-related pain. For mesothelioma patients, this pain is often localized in the chest.
Some of the pain-relieving techniques that massage therapists may use include:
A massage therapist will tailor the massage to mesothelioma patients, specifically avoiding any areas of their body that may already be sore from tumor growth or radiation therapy. However, patients are free to ask the therapist to stop if the massage begins to hurt.