Therapeutic and relaxation massage may be beneficial for cancer patients experiencing anxiety or pain.

Massage therapy delivered by an oncology-trained massage therapist is recommended as part of multimodality treatment.

One type of massage, known as manual lymph drainage, uses precise light rhythmic motions to reduce oedema. Several studies have evaluated this for patients with oedema of the arm following mastectomy, and today it is generally accepted as part of a physical therapy standard of care in combination with compression bandaging.

The application of deep or intense pressure is not recommended near cancer lesions or enlarged lymph nodes, radiation field sites, medical devices (such as indwelling intravenous catheters), or anatomic distortions such as postoperative changes or in patients with a bleeding tendency.

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