Biologique Recherche is one of only a few skincare brands to make its services and products cancer-friendly
Everyone’s talking about…
Cancer awareness Why are up to 90 per cent of spas still turning away people affected by cancer? How can the industry change this?
Katie Barnes investigates
Katie Barnes is the editor of Spa Business magazine Email: katiebarnes@ spabusiness.com Twitter: SpaBusinessKB
60 spabusiness.com issue 3 2018
ew figures estimate that one out of two people born after 1960 will be diagnosed with cancer and that, today, there are more than 17 million survivors. Chances are, many of these people are already spa customers and spas are perfectly placed to welcome them. Caring touch can go a long way to support people physically and emotionally at a time when they need it most. What's more, a host of complementary modalities – from massage and facials to yoga, meditation and breathwork – have a range of benefits and are being used in hospitals to help cancer patients or those in remission. But yet spas still aren't stepping up. The industry has already come a long way in cancer awareness over the last decade with spas in more than 40 countries investing in proper education and modalities, according to Julie Bach of the Wellness for Cancer charity. Some forward-thinking operators, including chains such as Sandals, COMO Shambhala
and Canyon Ranch, are stepping up. As are skincare brands like Biologique Recherche, ESPA, Voya and Comfort Zone. Yet, shockingly, it's believed that up to 90 per cent of operators still refuse to serve customers affected by cancer. So what's going wrong? Is insurance cover still an obstacle, where the fear is that therapists could make conditions worse, creating liabilities? Or is training an issue? Are operators struggling to offer services because staff aren't able to deal with customers affected by cancer? With no benchmarks for education in this area, how can operators ensure they pick the right course? And is this a focus for leading training schools and organisations to consider so that therapists are already trained when they start employment? Perhaps the barriers are all of the above and more. If so, what can spas, and the industry at large, do to tackle these challenges head on and to start truly embracing those impacted by the terrible disease?