Cancer Massage Therapy

By: Dr. David Marks, CBS News
By: Dr. David Marks, CBS News

It looks like it could be a luxury massage at a Beverly Hills spa, but Jenna Glazer's not on vacation. In fact, she has a full time job fighting breast cancer.

Jenna says, "I was diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer, and then after I had surgery, it turned out that I actually had stage three breast cancer."

Last year she had mastectomies on both breasts, followed by chemo and radiation. She also considers massage as part of her therapy.

"In order to really deal with some of the emotional side effects of chemo, the side effects of treatment, it really seemed like something that would help me to relax."

Wendy Miner says, "Our patients typically come in with a number of complaints, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, pain, depression, and massage is very effective in reducing those complaints, as much as 50 percent."

The massage can't be done by just anyone. It takes a trained therapist to work with cancer patients, and some research suggests it can help in the healing process.

"It does do a lot to lower respiratory rate, blood pressure. It also does a lot to decrease the different stress hormones, and to increase natural killer cells and lymphocytes, which help with the immune system."

"It's given me a calm place, an hour during the day where I don't think about cancer, where I focus on relaxation, where I focus on healing."

While Jenna knows massage won't cure her cancer, she says it helps give her a fighting chance.


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