Hi, I’ve just gone to my local beauticians for my regular monthly hot-stone massage. I’ve been going for a year now and told them tonight that I’d been dx last week. My therapist, Lovely Jill, said she couldn’t give me a massage due to concerns about the lymphatic system. Whilst I totally respect her decision and advice I just wondered if anyone else had been told that massage wasn’t advisable. How long before you were able to have one again? What did your docs advise? I’ll ask mine next week.

What other therapies have you tried that help with stress relief and a knackered back?


Yup, you’ll find it hard to find somewhere to treat you for about 6 months after treatment finishes. When they do their training they are taught that certain therapies may increase the chances of the cancer spreading. It is true though about the lymphatic system, best to errr on the side of caution.

You may however find a salon near you who do treat cancer patients. Where I live in Gloucestershire there are 2 salons that give cancer patients free treatments. The therapists are clued up about things. First monday of every month I have an indian head massage or pedicure.

Good luck finding somewhere.

Em x

Hi Clare, I was told the same thing. It’s best not to stimulate the lymphatic system as its one of the ways cancer can spread! I am a walker, and find that a good brisk walk(or even a slow one for that matter) has always managed to hit the button with me. Whenever I’ve felt myself in a corner I open the door and away!!..The greater my problems the faster I tend to walk. Good luck x

The Helen Rollaston charity and others offer free massage as part of the complimentary therapies.

Hi Clare

I think it depends on your onc. Mine said it was perfectly alright to have a massage - which I have monthly as it really helps me. However when I went to Wales last and went to the cancer centre there, they informed me that they do not give massages for chemo patients.

Best wishes



I only asked my breast care nurse yesterday about this, she said it would be ok BUT only with someone who was fully trained in doing massage with breast cancer,


I had massage through my chemotherapy and if I hadn’t I don’t think I’d be able to move my shoulder following the mastectomy.

I checked with my oncologist and he said it was fine and might be helpful to me. In fact in the cancer centre I was having rads they offered massage. My understanding is that there is no evidence to show that massage spreads cancer and going for a walk also stimulates lymph flow.

Here is a link to Macmillan website about therapy and massage:

for me the back pain was affecting my quality of life so much that I decided to go ahead. I have had regular massage over the years so my therapist (who is fully qualified) was happy to continue.

I did have an axillary clearance so I have made sure that the therapist goes nowhere near my actual arm or armpit area.

You’ll probably find there’s a lot of treatments people won’t give once you have a cancer diagnosis. I think part of this is fear of legal claims more than evidence. I would go for someone who works solely as a massage therapist rather than going to a beauticians or health club.

Check with your Oncologist if you want some peace of mind.

take care, Elinda

Thanks very much for the comments and feedback, Ladies. I’ll check with my Doc next week and take it from there. Bigs hugs! Clare

I had a secondary in a distant lymph node diagnosed in 2002 and was treated with surgery and chemo. I had 12 sessions of therapy including aromatherapy, indian head massage and reflexology at a local Cancerhelp centre whilst I was undergoing treatment. Since then I have been having a full body massage every 2 weeks with a local aromatherapist who used to work in palliative care services of the PCT until setting up on her own.

As my cancer was strongly Oestrogen positive and I have been on letrozole for 7 years, I can only have certain oils which do not stimulate oestrogen.

I have found my aromatherapy sessions have really helped both from a psycholgical point of view and also in improving muscle tone after axilla surgery.

Despite the aggressiveness of the tumour and the fact that the cancer had reached a distant lymph node, I remain in remission 8 years after secondary diagnosis.

I would definitely recommend massage, provided your aromatherapist knows which oils to use on you.


Hi there - I was diagnosed in 2009 with breast cancer and had regular massage all through my chemo. This was offered by my cancer hospital. It is also offered free at the many cancer centres around who have trained therapists. I am currently doing research into the experiences of massage, counselling and hair loss during chemotherapy as I am a massage therapist and psychologist myself and have become very interested in this field. The current research appears to favour massage for cancer patients and it is definitely on the increase in the states and here because of it benefits although there are some who question its overall effectiveness, however, as the health service sometimes offer it as part of an integrated approach to health care means things are changing. I would say as long as you stick to therapists who are used to giving massages to cancer patients go for it and enjoy.
BW bexy

Hi SappHo.I was interested to read your comments as I have recently started reflexology and was concerned about the effects on my oest related breast cancer with spread to bones and liver.Could you please advise which oils I should avoid?

I too have reflexology and wasn’t aware of oils to avoid. My last treatment tired me for a few days but I felt better after that. I am also having chemo at the moment and find reflexology really helpful
x sarah

Hi anybody that is interested I have just learnt that you shouldn’t use sweet fennel or cypress oils as they stimulate oestrogen.!

I don,t know what stage of treatment you are at,but I had acquapuncture prior to having chemo.I was advised by a therapist it would help with my back and also help with the side effects of chemo.I don’t know if it helped, or whether it was just one of those things,but I did not have really bad se’s.It also cured my acid reflux,drugs were giving me real problems.My onc would not let me carry on when i started chemo for fear of infection.
I really looked forward to my treatments because the place I went was so peaceful and relaxing.