Integration of Massage Therapy in Outpatient Cancer Care

While it reveals a degree of integration of massage into outpatient cancer care, the results reveals a gap in the translational area of massage research into practice

Virginia S. Cowen

2018

Scholarcy highlights

  • Cancer-related symptoms and cancer treatment-related symptoms encompass an array of physical and psycho-emotional indications including discomfort, pain, fatigue, and anxiety
  • CRS and CTRS have potential to interfere with a patient’s quality of life. For nonpharmacologic approaches to treat CRS/CTRS, a growing number of patients use massage and other complementary/alternative medicine therapies. Research suggests that massage can be effective in management of CRS/ CTRS through the reduction of chronic pain, anxiety, fatigue, and mood disturbance,(12-16) and that it can be safely integrated into outpatient cancer care. While there is an established field of research on massage for CRS/CTRS, the extent to which this is translational is unclear
  • Previous research on National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center websites indicated that massage is among the CAM therapies mentioned on cancer center websites. But little is known about the level of massage integration into patient care
  • In order to examine the extent to which massage research is translational in cancer care, the Institute of Medicine criteria were overlaid on the data and used to create an integration algorithm
  • As identified by the IOM, this is the very beginning of the integration of CAM into mainstream medical care. The 11 centers achieving a Low level of integration provided information about massage and offered massage to patients, but there was no additional evidence of integration
  • The integration levels of oncology massage for all 62 cancer centers ranged from None to Very High with distribution across five levels of integration in the algorithm
  • Among the 11 centers that achieved a Very High level of integration, all five levels of integration were evident: information provided about massage indicated acceptance of the therapeutic value of massage, massage was made available to patients at the cancer center, formal clinical practice guidelines were in place that were developed using evidence-based resources, and information about massage treatment was documented in the electronic medical record creating the ability to share knowledge about massage among the health care team
  • The findings of this analysis suggest that research on massage is not being leveraged to integrate massage into outpatient cancer care

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