Full Auxiliary clearance

I had full auxiliary clearance in January, following a lumpectomy in November of last year. I’m having huge problems with my shoulder as it recovers from surgery. I’ve managed to find some help but there is very little information out there. Can I have a massage? What are the risks? Can I go in a sauna?  I’ve tried calling the lymphoedema help line, they were useless. The lady told me massage spreads cancer cells! And there are no specialist registered on their website in my area either to give advice on massage and what else I can do to help my shoulder. 

Thank you,

  • Dear ClaLiz,

    Thank you for getting in touch. My name is Kat, I am one of the Cancer Information Nurses on the Support Line. I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time after having your surgery. As you mentioned there is little information out there as to where you can get support.

    It’s not uncommon to have some discomfort after an auxiliary clearance. I am wondering if you have spoken to your Clinical Nurse Specialist? They could refer you to the physiotherapist or you could speak to your GP to find our if your Health Board allows for self-referrals to physiotherapist. They would be best placed to assess you and give you some further exercises if this is what is needed. The physiotherapists would also be able to advise you about local massage therapists that could help with your shoulder pain.

    As you have mentioned you have called the lymphoedema helpline I’m wondering if you have been diagnosed with lymphoedema? If this is the case, you can be asked to be referred to a lymphoedema nurse specialist. They can discuss manual lymphatic drainage with you. If you have lymphoedema no other type of touch therapy should be carried out on this area.  

    If you are looking for massage you can discuss this with any local massage therapist. Our website has some information on massage and it’s benefits for you. To give you some reassurance, many cancer centres provide their patients with massages as it can be proven to beneficial. Research has show that massage doesn’t cause the cancer cells to spread. You may find that therapists will avoid the area that’s affected by cancer. If you are not currently on treatment it’s safe for you to have a sauna.

    If you are struggling with pain you may also find our booklet managing cancer pain helpful.

    Best wishes,




    Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 


    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email.