At These Hotels and Spas, Cancer Is No Obstacle to Quality Care

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At These Hotels and Spas, Cancer Is No Obstacle to Quality Care

Certain resorts and spas specialize in helping those with cancer.

It was a big deal for Melanie Kennedy, a former accountant from Bangor, Northern Ireland, to indulge in a massage at the spa at Culloden Estate and Spa, in Belfast, earlier this year. Ms. Kennedy has stage four incurable breast cancer, and getting spa treatments have been a challenge ever since she was diagnosed almost six years ago at the age of 35. The lymph nodes she had removed in her arm meant that an overly aggressive massage could lead to painful swelling called lymphedema, and on top this risk, she was self-conscious about the scars from her mastectomy.

But Ms. Kennedy had heard that Culloden had recently trained its therapists on giving treatments to guests with cancer and decided to try one out. “My cancer makes me nervous to go spas because I’m not sure that the therapists know what to do, but this time, I was in capable hands,” she said. “It was the most relaxing experience I’ve had since being diagnosed.”

Culloden is one of several hundred properties around the world increasingly catering to clients with cancer. The biggest change is in hotel spas where therapists are getting training in the needs and restrictions of cancer-afflicted guests when it comes to massages, facials and manicures.

Dr. Susan Prockop, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said that cancer patients need to be cautious with spa treatments because of issues like low blood circulation, or low red or white cell count. “This may mean soft tissue damage during a massage. Patients with lymphedema also need special massage,” she said. In addition, Dr. Prockop said that some cancer therapies are sensitive to ingredients that may be in massage oil or facial products, making rashes and skin irritation more likely.

Read on: At These Hotels and Spas, Cancer Is No Obstacle to Quality Care – The New York Times

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