FAQS 2017-05-13T15:20:29+00:00

Frequently asked questions

Oncology Training International (OTI) is an organization that offers advanced training for estheticians/beauty therapists; cosmetologists/hairdressers; nail techs and other spa professionals  specifically for clients living with cancer.

A: “Certified in Oncology Esthetics” is the professional status awarded to the skin care professional that has met the competency standards set forth by Oncology Training International (OTI).  It represents the highest skin care credential available globally and adheres to the code of ethics of the profession.
A: Individuals that have completed their tertiary education and have received their certificate/license or diploma in esthetics/beauty therapy or somatology can qualify to enhance their existing knowing by attending OTI’s Oncology Esthetics® Foundation Training.
A: Yes, there are specific trainings for these salon professionals.
A: The focus for the different professionals is to teach them about the disease (cancer); cancer treatment and side effects; and how to modify spa services offered to a client undergoing active cancer treatment, or with a history of cancer.

These trained professionals can then offer skin and body care services; corrective makeup, hair and nail services, plus massage and other modalities.

A: Esthetic/skin and body care treatments for clients with active cancer can be intimidating – and dangerous – if you are not properly educated.  At least with more education you’ll have more confidence to modify services to ensure their safety and quality of life.
A: You absolutely can. Cancer is appropriately taught as a contraindication during your basic training and is advanced education that requires specialized knowledge.
A: The reason for no ‘set’ protocol is that each person has to fill out an intake form and to list any side effects they have from either the disease or from the treatment.  Modifications need to be customised according to the client’s side effects on the day of treatment.
A: We are often asked about certification, and if the question is, “Will I have a certificate?” then the answer is yes, you will have a certificate of completion. The meaning of certification though is a larger, very important topic, and infers a certificate of accomplishment.

In general, all therapists everywhere should be intimately familiar with the client safety / lymphedema information.

Therapists should look for nationally accredited training through reputable organizations such as International Society for Oncology Esthetics (ISFOE). ISFOE has set the standard in establishing guidelines for required curriculum content, and this organization regards the accredited 24-hour programs as the absolute minimum requirement for therapists wanting to work with this medically sensitive clientele.

We can provide you with a clear and well-informed knowledge base helping you understand and apply the critical hands on modifications required for people in, or with a history of cancer treatment. This is the basic level of training accepted by ISFOE and it teaches the fundamental components required for the therapist to work safely. It is the starting point, the essential cornerstone, for all work related to oncology esthetics (skin and body care).

For therapists who would like to open their doors to clients in active cancer treatment and recent recovery, and these clients most often just happen into your practice without you anticipating them, you should complete an ISOE/S4OM approved 24-hour program to your training goal.

A: Many clients don’t recognize the long term implications of lymph node removal, especially when they are many years out of cancer treatment AND in particular if lymph nodes came back as negative for cancer cells. It is therefore worth noting that clients often withhold pertinent information from written consultation forms, and the MOST valuable information therapists most often get is from key verbal intake questions, not just with oncology clients, but all clients.
A: Oncology Training International (OTI), Inc



The International Society of Oncology Esthetics (ISFOE)


Salute allo Specchio Onlus (SAS) aka Health in the Mirror


A: Massage does not spread cancer.  Blood and lymph cancers are already in the blood and lymph and the blood has the heart pumping blood, and movement can help the lymph to flow.  So, both blood and lymph are flowing without massage.  A modified massage is extremely relaxing to a person.  See ISFOE studies….www.isfoe.org
A:  Cancer is not contagious – you cannot get cancer from someone who has it.  There is a mutation in the DNA of the person which could be triggered by any of numerous factors, but it is definitely not contagious.  A healthy person cannot “catch” cancer from someone who has it. There is no evidence that close contact or things like sex, kissing, touching, sharing meals, or breathing the same air can spread cancer from one person to another.

Cancer cells from one person are generally unable to live in the body of another healthy person. A healthy person’s immune system recognizes foreign cells and destroys them, including cancer cells from another person.

People with cancer need to be around other people.

Even today, families, friends, and co-workers of people with cancer sometimes stay away when they learn about the disease. As a result, people with cancer often say they feel isolated and alone.

You don’t have to stay away from someone with cancer – you cannot “catch” it from them. Don’t be afraid to visit a person with cancer. They need your visits and support.

A: Cancer treatment is expensive and we never know how much of that burden is falling onto our clients’ shoulders. There are a number of options open to you to make a meaningful contribution to this client population. You could consider offering a sliding scale to your clients when they are going through cancer treatments, shorter treatments that cost less, donating two services a month, or volunteering a few hours a month in a local cancer center.
A: Many clients with melanoma may have sentinel lymph nodes compromised during diagnostic procedures, so that would be a starting point on your protocol modification. Also modifications would need to be made in the localized area and you would take into consideration all side effects.
A: It has been a concern that essential oils would be a contraindication for someone with cancer. Essential oils can be very beneficial, however, having advanced training where you can utilize pre-blended combinations is hugely beneficial. NOTE: Clients with cancer may be overly sensitive to aromas from essential oils. Just remember the client’s sensitivity to fragrance can easily change day to day.
A: These side effects are common to certain chemotherapy agents. Since chemotherapy targets and kills all fast growing cells, which include both cancer cells and healthy cells – they are all affected.  The most common skin side effects from chemotherapy are sensitivity, dryness and dehydration, and are dependent on the chemotherapy agents administered.  They can also cause mild, moderate or severe hives, blistering and acne-type lesions. It is imperative to focus on the sensitivity issues, then to replenish barrier function.


For more information visit: www.oti-oncologytraining.com


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