ASCP Skin Deep


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 70 of 100

68 ASCP Skin Deep Spring 2022 CANCER ISN'T THE DEATH SENTENCE it once was, so cancer patients aren't as willing to accept their diagnosis as such. Instead, this population is more concerned with quality of life throughout their diagnosis, treatment, and remission. And although the number of cancer survivors is steadily improving due to breakthroughs in prevention, prescreening, research, and treatment options—from an estimated 16.9 million in 2019 to 22.2 million by 2030 1 —the American Cancer Society projects that 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the US in 2022 alone. 2 So, at some point in your career, you will likely have clients who receive cancer diagnoses. What does this mean for your career? Working with oncology patients requires an advanced form of esthetic education designed to provide already- licensed estheticians with the knowledge of how to modify skin care and spa treatments to ensure a safe outcome for clients living with cancer. What are the benefits of working with oncology patients? Oncology patients generally battle anxiety, depression, and a decrease in self-confidence and well-being. And, just as skin care treatments are psychologically and physically beneficial to your cancer-free clients, they Cance r Care What you need to know about caring for clients with cancer by Lisa Bakewell are more beneficial to clients who have been diagnosed with cancer and are receiving harsh treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapies that may be physically devastating (dry, brittle skin and nails, rashes, loss of elasticity, and hair loss) as well as psychologically overwhelming. "Skin care professionals see many clients—each one with unique skin care needs. Oncology training gives estheticians the opportunity to learn more, have a better understanding of what a client needs as they experience cancer, and gives great benefits to their clientele and community," says Becky Kuehn, founder and director of education with Oncology Spa Solutions ( "Often, there is no one to help when someone goes through cancer. Most of the time, when a patient shares with their physician that they are experiencing a new skin issue or side effect, it is met with this response: 'Yes, that is a common side effect of this drug/treatment.' The end. Or maybe they offer an over-the-counter product that might or might not work or be safe for them at this time. I've even had patients tell me their doctor told them to 'Buck up. It will be gone soon.' "Oncology-trained estheticians, massage therapists, hairstylists, and nail techs are able to confidently offer real solutions, as well as a time of peace and comfort that is much needed on the cancer journey. I had a client tell me that our time together was like an oasis in the desert that she looked forward to each month," Kuehn says. How do treatments for cancer patients differ from traditional spa treatments? According to Mórag Currin, owner of Oncology Training International (OTI) Oncology Training (, oncology treatments focus on safe modifications to spa protocols, are mindful of client safety "with compassion," and require an in-depth understanding and analysis of the side effects of cancer, since a client's oncology treatments may significantly influence how and which treatments and products should be used (or avoided). And "while many estheticians choose to not work with 'sick' people," Currin says, "that is a narrow-minded approach to being in an industry that focuses on providing services that offer relaxation, symptom relief, mental wellness, and appearance recovery." Does caring for cancer patients require a specific personality type? According to Kuehn, "Anyone can learn [this specialty], but it takes someone with compassion and care in their heart. And the good news is that most people in our profession have that already; that is why they chose this type of work. [Esties] care about people and want to help. I worked at

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of ASCP Skin Deep - SPRING 2022