Esthetician’s training benefits cancer patients

There are not many people who deserve pampering more than cancer patients.

Specialized massage: Certified oncology esthetician Bonnie Ward demonstrates lymphatic massage for people with cancer.

There are not many people who deserve pampering more than cancer patients.

But often some of the ways people unwind, massages, pedicures or skin care treatments, are not compatible with their cancer treatments.

Now, Bonnie Ward, of Bonnie’s Skincare and Esthetics in Salmon Arm is one of only six people in Canada certified in oncology esthetics, which gives her specialized training in providing services to cancer patients.

Ward’s interest in the area stemmed from losing five family members to the disease and having four others diagnosed with it.

“I’m a person who wants to help in whatever way I can. This was something I could do to help, but I knew I had to do it properly, to learn the right ways of doing things.”

Ward recently went to Vancouver to take the course, based on the Morag Currin method of oncology esthetics. The course focused on lymphatic massage for cancer patients and skin care, which can be significantly impacted by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“If you are not trained, there are massage techniques that can actually encourage cancer to grow. With this training, you are using a much more gentle touch and you learn the techniques to ensure your touch is beneficial,” says Ward.

Also, many beauty and skin care products can have unwanted side effects, exacerbate conditions or react badly with medications.

“Knowing product ingredients is very important when dealing with a client who has cancer,” she said.

Ward emphasizes how oncology esthetic treatments can benefit patients by helping them to relax, be more comfortable and reduce stress.

“When I see the results of someone who looks more relaxed, who leaves smiling, it is so rewarding. To know that I can make things a little bit better is a very powerful, emotional  thing to me.”

Laurie Lywood finished treatment for endometrial cancer in April and says help from Ward was  wonderful.

“It was nice to know someone who cared and who cared enough to make sure everything she was doing worked with my treatments.”

Lywood found the gentle massage soothing.

“It’s not an easy thing, these treatments, and trying to keep going, to stay strong. It was a way to unwind, to put it down for a while. I’d certainly recommend it.”

Ward also was trained in spotting skin growths that might bear consultation with a physician.

She plans to have special days at her spa for cancer patients, where the environment would be customized for clients.

Fragrances, for example, would be removed. She also wants to ensure treatments would be affordable and there will be some complimentary services for those in need.


Contact her at 250-804-2335 or find out more through her website at



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