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  • South Africa Embraces Oncology Skin Care

    Skin therapist education is essential in performing skin treatments on cancer patients or clients with a history of cancer. It is definitely an area that was not well explored when studying basic skincare in undergraduate school! Fortunately we were recently able to host a two day workshop with Johnnette du Rand, co-founder of Greet the Day and Institute of Integrative Oncology based in USA. Johnnette works in close collaboration with numerous cancer centers and has been trainer and supervisor for their integrative touch oncology programs since 2003. She received the 2008 Humanitarian Award from the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation for her work in the clinical center setting, and has worked in hospital, hospice and spa settings since 1999.

    The workshop introduced skin therapists to the unique and changing needs of oncology clientele, and helped prepare them with the skills and knowledge to provide safe, therapeutic treatments.

    This invitation-only exclusive workshop was hosted in three different locations across South Africa. Johnnette began her journey in Johannesburg on March 3, thereafter traveling to Durban to host the workshop on March 10 and finished off on March 17 in Cape Town. As there were detailed practical sessions involved in both days, a maximum of sixteen therapists attended each location, to ensure individual attention and perfect movements.

    The skin therapists were greeted by a humble-natured Johnnette and a seemingly large workbook! Her gentle nature and passion made the workshop come alive, as certain myths were clarified and personal stories were shared. The knowledge gained was absolutely incredible and the conversation flowed easily throughout the days. The practical sessions ensured that our students left the two days confident to work on either cancer clientele or survivors. We discussed treatment objectives, safety considerations, product selection and massage practices for oncology skin treatments, including adjustments required to safely address lymphedema, a common side effect of cancer treatment.

    Knowing that we, as skin therapists, are able to provide relief and comfort to a cancer patient through the ability to touch is eye opening. It reminded me why skin therapy is truly the best profession to be in!

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