Complementary Care for Breast Cancer Patients

Image Credit - MesserWoland - own work created in Inkscape, based on the graphics by Niki K, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Image Credit - MesserWoland - own work created in Inkscape, based on the graphics by Niki K, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The RMT Education Project is an initiative that is working to promote the benefits of massage therapy to an international audience, here I have to put together a list of research papers relevant to the practice of oncology massage.

Complementary Care for Breast Cancer Patients

It is estimated that 40% of cancer survivors use integrative approaches to manage symptoms and improve their well-being after conventional cancer treatments, this includes: massage, acupuncture, and yoga (Sohl et al. 2015). 

Massage Can be a Source of Safety, Comfort and Relief

Oncology massage is a specialty where massage techniques are changed to meet the needs of people with cancer and undergoing cancer treatments. In this field of research, there is a growing body of evidence that massage therapy helps people with cancer physically and emotionally, and it can improve their quality of life (Hilfiker et al. 2018Kinkead et al. 2018).

Movement for Movement

As for exercise and yoga practices, there is emerging research indicating being physically active during and after cancer treatment has many health benefits (Hilfiker et al. 2018)

Acupuncture for Symptom Management

Additionally, amulti-center randomized clinical trial published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has demonstrated that acupuncture may reduce joint-pain from prescription aromatase inhibitors (Bao et al. 2018, Hershman et al. 2018).

More to Explore

Bao et al. (2018). Acupuncture versus medication for pain management: a cross-sectional study of breast cancer survivors. Acupunct Med.

Bae et al. (2015). Acupuncture for Aromatase Inhibitor-Induced Arthralgia: A Systematic Review. Integr Cancer Ther.

Bouillet et al. (2015). Role of physical activity and sport in oncology. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology.

Brown et al. (2019). Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. JAMA Oncol.

Castro-Martín et al. (2017). Myofascial Induction Effects on Neck-Shoulder Pain in Breast Cancer Survivors: Randomized, Single-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Design. Arch Phys Med Rehabil.

De Groef et al. (2018). Effect of myofascial techniques for treatment of persistent arm pain after breast cancer treatment: randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil.

De Groef et al. (2018). An evaluation tool for Myofascial Adhesions in Patients after Breast Cancer (MAP-BC evaluation tool): Concurrent, face and content validity. PLoS One.

De Groef et al. (2017). An evaluation tool for myofascial adhesions in patients after breast cancer (MAP-BC evaluation tool): Development and interrater reliability. PLoS One.

Fong et al. (2012). Physical activity for cancer survivors: Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ.

Garland et al. (2019). Acupuncture Versus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst.

Greenlee et al. (2017). Clinical practice guidelines on the evidence-based use of integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment. CA Cancer J Clin.

Hershman et al. (2018). Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Acupuncture or Waitlist Control on Joint Pain Related to Aromatase Inhibitors Among Women With Early-Stage Breast Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA.

Hilfiker et al. (2018). Exercise and other non-pharmaceutical interventions for cancer-related fatigue in patients during or after cancer treatment: a systematic review incorporating an indirect-comparisons meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med.

Kinkead et al. (2018). Massage therapy decreases cancer-related fatigue: Results from a randomized early phase trial. Cancer.

Langevin et al. (2016). Connecting (T)issues: How Research in Fascia Biology Can Impact Integrative Oncology. Cancer Research.

Lewis, P.A., & Cunningham, J.E. (2016). Dynamic Angular Petrissage as Treatment for Axillary Web Syndrome Occurring after Surgery for Breast Cancer: A Case Report. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork.

Listing et al. (2010). The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer. Arch Womens Ment Health.

Lyman et al. (2018). Integrative Therapies During and After Breast Cancer Treatment: ASCO Endorsement of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Oncol.

Mao et al. (2017). Integrating Oncology Massage Into Chemoinfusion Suites: A Program Evaluation. J Oncol Pract.

Massingill et al. (2018). Myofascial Massage for Chronic Pain and Decreased Upper Extremity Mobility After Breast Cancer Surgery. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork.

Mustian et al. (2017). Comparison of Pharmaceutical, Psychological, and Exercise Treatments for Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Oncol.

Nijs et al. (2016). Pain following cancer treatment: Guidelines for the clinical classification of predominant neuropathic, nociceptive and central sensitization pain. Acta Oncol.

Radossi et al. (2017). A systematic review of integrative clinical trials for supportive care in pediatric oncology: a report from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology, T&CM collaborative. Support Care Cancer.

Sohl et al. (2015). Cancer survivors' disclosure of complementary health approaches to physicians: the role of patient-centered communication. Cancer.

Stuiver et al. (2017). Which are the best conservative interventions for lymphoedema after breast cancer surgery? BMJ.

Thomas et al. (2016). Exercise-induced biochemical changes and their potential influence on cancer: a scientific review. Br J Sports Med.

Yang et al. (2017). Prevalence and risk factors of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder after breast cancer treatment. Support Care Cancer. 

Zia et al. (2017). The National Cancer Institute's Conference on Acupuncture for Symptom Management in Oncology: State of the Science, Evidence, and Research Gaps. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr.