Monday, 29 October 2012

Hot Springs for Breast Cancer Survivors


 I wrote a while ago about hot springs as very safe places for women of all ages and with all sorts of bodies, including women with mastectomy and other scaring. I was a little surprised to get quite a few referrals to this blog after posting that from people who were googling the terms "mastectomy" plus "onsen" or "hot springs". I didn't really know what to make of that until I read this article on Japan Times the other day in August: Hot springs resorts band together in support of breast cancer survivors. I hope no one read my post trying to find information and was misinformed. The JT article reads in part:
The group's aim is to create an environment more friendly to breast cancer survivors at hot springs facilities and inform them of such facilities.
Noriyuki Ikeyama, 54, who led work to establish the group, said, "I don't want women with breast cancer to give up enjoying the pleasures of travel."
...
According to the National Cancer Center, more than 50,000 women in Japan are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. But only 10 percent of those who undergo mastectomies have mammary prostheses or reconstructive surgery because of the cost, which can be as high as ¥3 million, according to Ikeyama.
Survivors tend to give up going to hot springs because they are reluctant to be seen without clothes, Ikeyama said, adding many feel guilty as their families are forced to stop going as well.

I guess my experiences are more with local onsen that are community meeting places rather than tourism resorts, which may make a difference. But more than that~ I'm not a breast cancer survivor, and I don't know how that would feel.

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