When it comes to making a career choice to work with oncology clients, the decision can be rewarding in many ways. If considering this path, here are the answers to 10 questions many aestheticians ponder before taking the plunge.
- Is it scary to work with an oncology client? No. An oncology client is a client. They just have different skin conditions and needs right now and possibly forever. And, when a professional learns and understands those, they can easily help these clients and give them back a quality of life.
- Can anyone do it? Yes! The good news is that aesthetic gifts and talents are easily transferrable and are very helpful to clients with compromised health.
- What skills are necessary and required? Body, mind, and spirit – the basic aesthetic skills, an understanding of psychological issues, and a desire to help and give back to fully support these clients on their journey are needed.
- Are special product lines needed? Although each client will have specific needs, one of the most common ones will be dry, sensitive skin that is very reactive. So, it is important to carry product lines that are hydrating, gentle, protective, and free of harmful ingredients.
- Can I do normal facials or spa treatments? During this time, hold off on some of the common treatments, such as peels, exfoliation, microdermabrasion, laser, waxing, and traditional massage. Instead, learn how to customize for each client that comes in.
- Are there cancer protocols? No. Because each client is unique, every client will have had a different experience with cancer. So, instead of a protocol, professionals will want to learn what questions to ask so that they can customize the treatment specific to the client’s needs.
- Are new or different consent forms needed? Yes, because professionals need additional and different answers, so that they can customize treatments, a revised form is needed. One of the more important questions is, “Have you had any lymph nodes removed? If so, where? (what quadrant of the lymphatic watershed).”
- Does it matter how long they have been cancer-free? Depending on the client, they might be living with some of the cancer leftovers that would mean a forever modification. So, always ask.
- How can professionals connect with this clientele? Being present matters with every client, but even more so with those going through cancer. When clients come in, spending time and money, they deserve to have complete attention given to them. This is very important for the oncology client. They have the chaos of cancer in their heads and feel that no one is listening to them during their journey. By being present and listening to them, professionals can connect and make a difference in their life.
- What else is important when considering this career path? Education. Knowledge is power. The more professionals can learn about the skin and its conditions, the better and more valuable they will be to all their clients.
Becky Kuehn’s journey started at the age of 18 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She had already lost friends and family members to cancer, so she was very familiar with the chaos and trauma associated with diagnosis and loss. As a cancer survivor for over three decades, she has made it her mission to discover and develop ways to turn around the devastating side-effects of cancer treatments. Kuehn is the founder of Oncology Spa Solutions, now the leading oncology training for spa, salon, and medical professionals in the United States. She travels, teaching, training, and working on her mission to build a team of Aesthetic-Angels so that there will be an oncology-trained spa professional available in every cancer center or hospital.