Well done to the Belfast trust for leading the way and the lovely Lyndsey whose heartfelt speech had everyone in tears but that’s the reality of Secondary breast cancer.
“The Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge has given patients like myself the unique opportunity to help make improvements that will benefit our own treatment and care,” said Lyndsey Haighton, a patient diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
We have made a Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge to improve services for local people diagnosed with incurable secondary breast cancer.
Our pledge, in partnership with the charities Breast Cancer Now and Breast Cancer Care, will help us learn from the experiences of secondary breast cancer patients.
It was a big deal for Melanie Kennedy, a former accountant from Bangor, Northern Ireland, to indulge in a massage at the spa at Culloden Estate and Spa, in Belfast, earlier this year. Ms. Kennedy has stage four incurable breast cancer, and getting spa treatments have been a challenge ever since she was diagnosed almost six years ago at the age of 35. The lymph nodes she had removed in her arm meant that an overly aggressive massage could lead to painful swelling called lymphedema, and on top this risk, she was self-conscious about the scars from her mastectomy.
But Ms. Kennedy had heard that Culloden had recently trained its therapists on giving treatments to guests with cancer and decided to try one out. “My cancer makes me nervous to go spas because I’m not sure that the therapists know what to do, but this time, I was in capable hands,” she said. “It was the most relaxing experience I’ve had since being diagnosed.”
Culloden is one of several hundred properties around the world increasingly catering to clients with cancer. The biggest change is in hotel spas where therapists are getting training in the needs and restrictions of cancer-afflicted guests when it comes to massages, facials and manicures.
Dr. Susan Prockop, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said that cancer patients need to be cautious with spa treatments because of issues like low blood circulation, or low red or white cell count. “This may mean soft tissue damage during a massage. Patients with lymphedema also need special massage,” she said. In addition, Dr. Prockop said that some cancer therapies are sensitive to ingredients that may be in massage oil or facial products, making rashes and skin irritation more likely.
The Spa at Culloden is delighted to work alongside N.I.C.A.M (Northern Ireland Cancer Advocacy Movement) to offer patients living with incurable cancers, special rates on a number of our wellbeing packages.
Founder of N.I.C.A.M, Melanie Kennedy who is herself living with Stage 4 incurable breast cancer knows the benefits spa treatments can have, said:
‘It is amazing to feel like an everyday customer for a day. I was able to relax knowing I was in such good hands. You just can’t put a value on that when you are on long-term treatment. I am delighted the Spa at Culloden has agreed to work with us.”
The Spa at Culloden has recently been announced as one of the Best Spa and Wellness Hotels at the Luxury Lifestyle Awards. Readers from across the globe voted for the award and the Spa at Culloden is Northern Ireland’s only property to make the list.
Pictured above is N.I.C.A.M Chairperson, Melanie Kennedy with Rachel Lyness, Spa Manager.