Massage Therapy and Skin Cancer Detection

With summer in full swing, protecting your skin should be at the top of your priority list. Hotter weather, less clothes, being outside in the sun all day – many people forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, or don’t wear it at all.

More than 3.5 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, according to the American Cancer Society. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, and is caused by extended exposure to UV rays. While there are several risk factors, including having moles, pale skin, or a family history of skin cancer, the number one risk factor is extended exposure to UV rays. If you aren’t wearing sunscreen, you are putting your health and life at risk.

There is good news. If you detect skin cancer early, it is highly curable. It is important to visit your doctor or dermatologist regularly to check any moles or skin irregularities. However, many people don’t think of massage therapy as a way to keep your skin checked. If you visit a massage therapist who knows what to look for when it comes to skin cancer detection, you will have a greater chance of catching potential illness early.

If you are a massage therapist, knowing what suspicious lesions look like is crucial. If you notice something irregular on your client, bring it up at the end of their session; an easy way to do this is to tell them you noticed a spot on their skin and recommend they see a dermatologist. Creating a relationship with dermatologists in your area will be important so you can provide contact information to your clients. Early detection saves lives, and massage therapists are in the perfect position to help.

Keep in mind that massage therapists cannot diagnose, so while it is an excellent idea to get regular massage, it is also important to also visit your dermatologist as well.