Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 158–164 | Cite as

Skin Cancer Education among Massage Therapists: A Survey at the 2010 Meeting of the American Massage Therapy Association

  • Shannon M. CampbellEmail author
  • Qiong Louie-Gao
  • Meghan L. Hession
  • Elizabeth Bailey
  • Alan C. Geller
  • Deborah Cummins


Massage therapists encounter skin on a daily basis and have a unique opportunity to recognize potential skin cancers. The purpose of this study was to describe the skin cancer education provided to massage therapists and to assess their comfort regarding identification and communication of suspicious lesions. An observational retrospective survey study was conducted at the 2010 American Massage Therapy Association Meeting. Sixty percent reported receiving skin cancer education during and 25% reported receiving skin cancer education after training. Massage therapists who examine their own skin are more likely to be comfortable with recognizing a suspicious lesion and are more likely to examine their client’s skin. Greater number of clients treated per year and greater frequency of client skin examinations were predictors of increased comfort level with recognizing a suspicious lesion. Massage therapists are more comfortable discussing than identifying a potential skin cancer. Massage therapists may be able to serve an important role in the early detection of skin cancer.


Massage therapist Body work professional Skin cancer education Skin cancer early detection Skin cancer prevention 



Non-melanoma skin cancer


Skin self-exams


American Massage Therapy Association


Statistical analysis system



The authors of this manuscript would like to thank Boston University, Department of Dermatology, for their financial support of this study. Boston University Dermatology, Inc (BUD), Accounting Unit (A\U) #2003013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shannon M. Campbell
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Qiong Louie-Gao
    • 3
  • Meghan L. Hession
    • 4
  • Elizabeth Bailey
    • 5
  • Alan C. Geller
    • 6
  • Deborah Cummins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Division of DermatologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiostatisticsSchool of Public Health, Boston UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Internal MedicineBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of SocietyHuman Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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