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Cancer And Massage Essay

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Massage Therapy
Continuing Education
NCBTMB Provider #451897-12


2 CEUs
Content copyright 2012, 2013 Nirvana Massage CE National, LLC

All rights reserved. All trademarks and/or copyrights are in effect.

This course is for informational and continuing education purposes only.
All information in this course has been thoroughly researched and referenced. It is accepted as factual at the time of publication. Nirvana Massage CE National, LLC disclaims responsibility for any contradictory information.

It is the responsibility of the massage therapist and/or medical professional to determine what precautions to take in the particular field and to abide by their scope of practice.


Chapter One: What is Cancer?
Chapter Two: Who Gets Cancer?
Chapter Three: Deaths from Cancer
Chapter Four: Cancer Treatments
Chapter Five: Benefits of Massage for Cancer Patients
Chapter Six: Cautions and Contraindications


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Chapter One
What is Cancer?

Cancer is an all-encompassing term that includes a variety of diseases of varying severity. The American Cancer Society defines cancer as “the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because abnormal cells grow out of control.”i Cancer cells differ from regular cells, which grow, divide, and die in a healthy way. Cancer cells divide outside the rate of normal cells, and do not die when they are supposed to.ii The process of normal cell death is called apoptosis. Cancer cells do not undergo this process.iii

Along with growing, dividing, and not dying on time, cancer cells also invade other tissues.iv Regular cells cannot do this. Cancer cells have damaged DNA, and instead of repairing the damage or dying, the cancer cells replicate. The replicated cells also carry the damaged DNA.v There is no clear-cut cause for cancer, but causes can include hereditary factors, lifestyle (diet, smoking, etc.), and environmental factors (such as pollution or radiation).vi

Carcinogens are substances that are responsible for “damaging DNA, promoting or aiding cancer.”vii Examples include cigarette smoke, x-rays, radiation from the sun, and car exhaust. Carcinogens produce free radicals that rob electrons from molecules in the body’s cells, producing cell damage.viii

Cancer cells can clump together to form tumors, which damage surrounding tissues. Cancer cells can also break off from the tumor and spread to other areas of the body. Once they invade other tissues, the cells continue to grow and form new tumors. This is called metastasis.ix Metastasis is the leading cause of death from cancerous diseases.x When cancer spreads, it is still named after the original location of the disease. For example, if you have skin cancer that has metastasized and spread to other organs, it is still called skin cancer.xi Some tumors are benign, which means they are not cancerous. These types of tumors do not invade other tissues, though they can cause health problems when they press on other organs.xii

Not all types of cancer are tumor forming. Leukemia affects blood function, for example.xiii Cancer can affect any and all of the body’s systems.

Chapter Two
Who Gets Cancer?

American Cancer Society records from January 2008 showed that almost 12 million people had cancer in the United States.xiv Half of all men in American will develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1/3 of all women in America will develop some form of cancer.xv Almost 300,000 people in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with cancer every year.xvi Almost 1.6 million people in the United States get a new cancer diagnosis annually.xvii

The risk of getting cancer increases as you age. Seventy-five percent of new cancer diagnoses occur in patients who are 60 or older. One percent of cancer patients are children under the age of 14, and roughly 10 percent of cancer patients are between the ages of 25 to 49.xviii The most common cancer for men is prostate cancer (24 percent), and the most common cancer for women is breast cancer (31 percent).xix Thirty-one percent of childhood can...

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