CancerCare offers specialist scar massage for cancer patients

People left with scars after cancer surgery can now benefit from specialist therapy at CancerCare thanks to one of the UK’s leading practitioners in this field.

A dozen massage therapists from the charity took part in a crash course in scar massage led by Emma Holly who has a clinical practice on Harley Street.

She has also delivered similar courses across the UK at centers of excellence such as The Christie in Manchester.

The RESTORE Oncology Scar Specialist certification course provided therapists with an opportunity to learn about scar tissue caused by cancer surgery and the most effective techniques for reducing tenderness and pain, promoting movement and understanding the psychological impact that scars may have on clients.

The course took place over three days at the charity’s Kendal center and saw therapists practice their skills with CancerCare clients, learning scar massage, both dry and with oils, creams and wax gels, and also experimenting with therapeutic tools and devices.

IN ACTION: Scar massage in progress

CancerCare client Jenny Thistlethwaite from Ingleton has volunteered to allow therapists to practice their new massage techniques on the scars she left after surgery in November last year.

“I thought I was fine after the mastectomy, but now I realize it made me feel completely different from my body and avoided touching my scar,” she said.

“After the surgery, you are advised at the hospital to massage the area but you are not really told how to do it or what products to use.

“Losing a breast is such a huge thing for a woman, psychologically and physically. Having the specialist massage today made me realize how taking care of the scar correctly can really make a difference and can also make the difference. help you look and feel better.

Ms Holly said: ‘The course went very well and it helped that the quality of therapists on the CancerCare team was clearly very high. The course demonstrates the value of not just treating the scar itself, but of considering the whole person and treating them with respect. We have excellent wound care in the NHS, but the importance of this type of therapy tends to be somewhat overlooked.

“Every scar is different and can cause varying degrees of tightness, tenderness, pain, restriction of movement. It is also important to remember that the scar is not just the linear area that you can see. The treatment damages the tissues under and around it and expert massage therapy takes this into account and can ultimately make the woman feel that it is both okay to touch it and accept it as part of her body.

Specialist scar massage will now be part of the therapy offering at all CancerCare centers in the Morecambe Bay area. For more details visit

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