Cancer and its treatment are stressful and reduce the quality of life in children. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of massage therapy on pain and anxiety arising from intrathecal therapy or bone marrow aspiration in children with cancer. We conducted a controlled pretest/posttest quasi-experimental study at a paediatric oncology unit in Turkey. Twenty-five children were enrolled in this study. Their pain and anxiety were determined using a visual analogue scale. When the pretest and posttest pain and anxiety levels of the groups were compared, no statistically significant difference was found (P > 0.05). It was determined that pain and anxiety levels in the experimental group decreased significantly. This study provides preliminary evidence for the effectiveness in children of massage in reducing pain and anxiety arising from intrathecal therapy or bone marrow aspiration.