"They did a biopsy and voila. There it was -- cancer. The word melanoma kind of took me aback."
For Joanne Farmer, skin cancer was just the beginning.
"Then when I was 45, I had a body scan and they detected I had lung cancer," she said.
That diagnosis was followed by a kidney tumor.
She credits massage with relieving some of the side effects of multiple cancer treatments. Swelling for one.
"It takes a special training to be able to do that type of manipulation of the tissue and fluids," according to Karen James of Massage Envy, who specializes in oncology massage.
The therapy can also help reduce scarring. Joanne's surgical incisions are barely visible now.
Researcher William Collinge says patients can't always go to a professional and that there are benefits to doing massage at home.
"In the study, we found that family members were able to reduce pain, stress and anxiety, a lot of other symptoms and side effects significantly and that makes them feel good about themselves," said Collinge.
The result was a instructional video sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, demonstrating simple techniques that can promote relaxation without fear of causing harm.
"We found just as little as 10-15 minutes can be really beneficial for patients. So that's something family members can do without much of a burden and everyone benefits," Coolinge said.
Joanne believes massage has also made her a calmer person than she used to be.
"Here I am five years later doing massage therapy and reaping the rewards of it," she said.
On Tuesday, September 14, Massage Envy locations will donate a portion of their proceeds for that day to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Appointments are needed.
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