Editor’s note: This article is the first part of a three-part series about how cancer affects the skin. The next two parts will appear in the April and May 2012 issues, respectively. Skin care professionals must seek specialized training before offering the services addressed in this series.
Sue was one of our spa’s first “special guests,” a woman with cancer. She was 55 and had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer; cancer that had spread beyond the breast and was controllable but not curable. Like Sue, more people are being diagnosed with—and are surviving—cancer than ever before. According to the American Cancer Society, a staggering 11.7 million Americans alive today have a history of cancer; some are cancer-free, some still have evidence of cancer and some are currently undergoing treatment. It is estimated that more than 1.6 million new cases will be diagnosed in 2012 alone, and that 68% of all people diagnosed with cancer will survive five or more years.
These people often become clients in spas, or want to receive the restorative services that spas offer. Skin care professionals need to become familiar with the changes to the skin that result from cancer treatment so they can become more skilled in providing services to these clients. This three-part series presents an overview of skin changes related to cancer treatment and recommendations for skin care that will aid these particularly vulnerable clients to be most comfortable with their own beauty.