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'Spa Day' pampers breast cancer patients

Posted June 12, 2008

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— "Spa Day" at Duke University Medical Center meant pampering for breast cancer patients.

Twenty vendors offered products and information, and a traveling spa parked in front of the cancer clinic to provide more services.

"We really have to treat our patients, not just their body but their mind, as well," Kristy Everette, with Duke Oncology Services, said.

The purpose of the massages, manicures and reflexology therapy is physical pleasure – but also helping cancer patients feel better psychologically.

"(It) kind of makes me feel pretty special," said Holly Jones, 45, a breast cancer patient.

Jones' treatment for a recurrence that spread to her liver and right lung left her bald and in the market for a wig. "I ordered brown, and it was kind of reddish. It was awful," she said.

On Spa Day, though, Jones successfully found a wig that she liked.

Duke officials said all the pampering is a regular part of the cancer-patient support program.

"I think one of the good approaches about our program is that it's not just the patients," Phillip Shoe, with the cancer-patient support program, said. "We also try to do the same for the caregivers in the family; they're the support system."

Nancy Hensley, who's undergoing treatment for follicular lymphoma, said all the attention fulfills a vital need felt by her and others fighting the same battle.

"What I try to do is make myself special and to do things that make me feel good and have a positive outlook," Hensley said.

Learn about the Komen Race for the Cure on Saturday, June 14, at Meredith College in Raleigh.

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