‘Out of the blue’: massage leads to cancer diagnosis for Cedar Rapids woman

KCRG TV 9's Mollie Swayne spoke to a Cedar Rapids woman that says she is alive right now in part thanks to her massage therapist.
Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 10:49 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cedar Rapids woman says she is alive right now in part thanks to a massage therapist who found and warned her about a lump.

Judith Takes said last year, her partner gave her a couple massage for her birthday. Amber Henline was the massage therapist who worked on Takes that day.

“I just felt a grape-sized bump,” said Henline. “I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was unusual to find a bump in that area.”

Henline mentioned the lump to Takes after their session. “That same day, we got done at Amber’s, got in the car, and I called my family doctor,” said Takes. “I said I need to get an appointment ASAP. She got me in on that Monday to get a biopsy. By Tuesday, yep, I knew that I had cancer.”

The lump was a swollen lymph node that led doctors to a diagnosis of stage three carcinoma.

Takes said doctors removed cancer from her lymph nodes and her breast.

“I do breast exams all the time,” said Takes. “I never did anything back that far underneath the arm. I never expected that.”

It’s now been more than a year since Henline discovered the lump. Takes’ doctors have since declared her “clinically-free” of cancer.

Takes said it was a “fluke” the cancer was found when it was, an accident that she credits with saving her life, and one she hopes illustrates the importance of early detection for others.

“More than anything, just pay attention to what is going on with your body,” said Takes.

The ordeal also made her grateful, for all the things that led to her being in the right place at the right time: “Thank God that Eric gave me the couple’s massage. And thank God Amber’s the one who did it.”

She’s also grateful for the chance to appreciate life anew.

“It’s a gift. I mean, you can look at it in a negative way and say, ‘Why me?’ Or you can look and say, ‘You know what, it’s opened up my eyes, and I see things differently,’” said Takes.