Lymphedema Massage

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Dr Pennell Dr Pennell 1 week, 4 days ago.

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March 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm  #1290319    

marieharvey

For patients with active cancer, who have developed lymphedema, do you think massage by a physical therapist trained in lymphedema massage to reduce swelling, do you think massage spreads the cancer to other parts of the body?

March 11, 2017 at 11:58 am  #1290327    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

Hi Marie,

There’s no data suggesting massage will do anything but hopefully make a person feel better. This question was brought up several years ago so I don’t know that I could find it.

Hope you’re doing fine.
Janine


My husband, 8/09 53 @ dx stage III squam nsclc R. pancoast tumor
Destruction of 3 ribs, touching brachial plexus.
6/09-8/09 2 core and 1 VATS undx biopsies. Open thoracotomy for 1 positive biopsy (unresectable)
9/09 Chemo/rads curative intent
11/09 MRI by pancoast specialist surgeon spine met found undiagnosed Rad to spine, Chemo continued thru 6 cycles
Tarceva maintenance 2/10
11/10 3cm tumor L lung, undx core bx w/collapsed lung. Gemzar, 12/10 through 7/12
NED 3/12, stop tx 7/12. Remains NED as of 9/16
Unanswerable question. Was it ever metastatic?

March 12, 2017 at 11:16 pm  #1290340    

scohn

Here is a general description of its benefits for those with cancer:

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/lymphedema/for-people-with-lymphedema.html

And here is a recent hospital cohort study that showed that the MLD did not have any significant effect on cancer recurrence:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354455/

Hope these help.


Wife, lifelong non-smoker, dx 4/24/15 adenocar. right mid lung, stage IV, poorly differentiated. 2 bone mets, 1 lymph node. HER2 Exon 20 mutation. 6x Carbo/Alimta – 50-70% reduction in primary tumor, lymph nodes normal, bone regrowth into lesion site. Alimta maint. not effective, tumor growth, 2 new liver mets. 11/15 – Opdivo; Not effective-growth & new liver mets. 4/16 – clinical trial drug, tumor & liver met reduced 50-70%. 11/16-main tumor growth, liver mets stable. 2/17-All Stable

March 13, 2017 at 5:46 am  #1290343    

marieharvey

scorn, thank you so much for these links, they really are informative. The only thing different is, the lymphatic massage therapist I saw was concerned with giving massage in patients with active cancer. The article you sent discusses women in remission of breast cancer. My therapist was supposed to talk to my oncologist and get back to me. It will be interesting what he recommends, but knowing him, I would guess he will say to go ahead with the massage mainly for quality of life. Currently, besides the tumor in my abdomen and hip bone, I also have a few lesions in my lungs and liver, as well as in to lymph node sites. How worse can it get? I am currently not getting treatment, and trying to find a clinical trial. This is not easy, and I’m praying God leads me to the right path. The pain of the lymphedema doesn’t help. Thanks again so much for responding.

March 13, 2017 at 6:55 am  #1290344    

scohn

Hi marieharvey.

I found the citation for another article that might be even more relevant for you, but I was only able to see the abstract for the moment.

Can manual treatment of lymphedema promote metastasis?
Godette K, Mondry TE, Johnstone PA.
J Soc Integr Oncol. 2006 Winter;4(1):8-12.

From the abstract it looks like they support the idea that “cancer research supports the contention that this therapy does not contribute to spread of disease and should not be withheld from patients with metastasis.”

As always, such studies need to be discussed directly with your oncologist to determine the relevance to your particular case.

Sending lots of internet hugs and hope for treatment that eases the lymphedema pain, and prayers that you find a good clinical trial or treatment that leads to some great results. You’ll be in our prayers for peace, health, and healing.

-scohn


Wife, lifelong non-smoker, dx 4/24/15 adenocar. right mid lung, stage IV, poorly differentiated. 2 bone mets, 1 lymph node. HER2 Exon 20 mutation. 6x Carbo/Alimta – 50-70% reduction in primary tumor, lymph nodes normal, bone regrowth into lesion site. Alimta maint. not effective, tumor growth, 2 new liver mets. 11/15 – Opdivo; Not effective-growth & new liver mets. 4/16 – clinical trial drug, tumor & liver met reduced 50-70%. 11/16-main tumor growth, liver mets stable. 2/17-All Stable

March 13, 2017 at 7:11 am  #1290345    

marieharvey

Thank you so much, God bless you

March 13, 2017 at 9:44 am  #1290347    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

Marie I found this post from a few years ago that includes a post from Dr. Pennell. http://cancergrace.org/topic/massage


My husband, 8/09 53 @ dx stage III squam nsclc R. pancoast tumor
Destruction of 3 ribs, touching brachial plexus.
6/09-8/09 2 core and 1 VATS undx biopsies. Open thoracotomy for 1 positive biopsy (unresectable)
9/09 Chemo/rads curative intent
11/09 MRI by pancoast specialist surgeon spine met found undiagnosed Rad to spine, Chemo continued thru 6 cycles
Tarceva maintenance 2/10
11/10 3cm tumor L lung, undx core bx w/collapsed lung. Gemzar, 12/10 through 7/12
NED 3/12, stop tx 7/12. Remains NED as of 9/16
Unanswerable question. Was it ever metastatic?

March 14, 2017 at 8:34 am  #1290359    

marieharvey

Thank you so much. I wish there was someway to find out what Dr. Pennell was referring to when he said ” with some exceptions.” In my mind he could very well be referring to lymphedema. Is he still on this forum? Is Dr West still here and answering questions? It has been a while since I’ve been on the forum.

March 14, 2017 at 10:10 am  #1290360    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

I’m assuming Dr. Pennell is referring to the exceptions in the following pps where he suggests personal assumptions about where there are bone mets deep tissue massage may cause fracture and where there is nerve damage massage could cause more pain. However since I wrote assume twice I’ll see if we can find Dr. Pennell to clarify.

Our oncology faculty still comment from time to time but for the most part the moderators (Jim and I at the moment) field most of the questions with the deep supply of articles and threads on hand. Having the oncologists online all the time was pretty amazing, I wouldn’t know what I know without it but it was not sustainable for the ever busy and evolving oncologists. Many still contribute through video and blog posts and on our board. Dr. West, who conceptualized and started Grace is still president of the Grace board and is often moderator of #LCSM chat Thursday evening twitter discussions.


My husband, 8/09 53 @ dx stage III squam nsclc R. pancoast tumor
Destruction of 3 ribs, touching brachial plexus.
6/09-8/09 2 core and 1 VATS undx biopsies. Open thoracotomy for 1 positive biopsy (unresectable)
9/09 Chemo/rads curative intent
11/09 MRI by pancoast specialist surgeon spine met found undiagnosed Rad to spine, Chemo continued thru 6 cycles
Tarceva maintenance 2/10
11/10 3cm tumor L lung, undx core bx w/collapsed lung. Gemzar, 12/10 through 7/12
NED 3/12, stop tx 7/12. Remains NED as of 9/16
Unanswerable question. Was it ever metastatic?

March 15, 2017 at 6:46 am  #1290367    
Dr Pennell
Dr Pennell

Janine is correct, I outlined the exceptions in the rest of my post. Generally massage is safe but very forceful massage in someone with pain or bone metastases could hypothetically cause harm so urged caution in those cases.


Nathan Pennell, MD
Associate Professor, Solid Tumor Oncology
Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center

Views expressed here represent my opinion, not those of GRACE or Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center. This information does not constitute medical advice and is intended to supplement and not replace medical information provided by your doctor.

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