Navigation Links
Weight Lifting Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Date:8/12/2009

Finding runs counter to standard advice doctors have given for years

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Lifting weights can help prevent flare-ups of lymphedema, a painful swelling of the arm that often occurs after breast cancer surgery, new research shows.

The finding runs counter to what women have been told for years -- that they should avoid stressing the arm during strength training or other exercise because muscle strain can cause lymphedema to worsen.

The study is published in the Aug. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers divided 141 breast cancer survivors who had lymphedema into two groups. One group did twice-weekly weight training using slowly increasing weights for 13 weeks. Afterward, they were told to continue the exercises unsupervised for 39 weeks. The other group was told to maintain their normal exercise and activity regimen.

About 11 percent of the weight-lifting group and 12 percent of the control group had an increase of 5 percent or more in limb swelling, according to the study, not a significant difference.

Yet the weight-lifting group had greater improvements in self-reported severity of lymphedema symptoms, an improvement in upper- and lower-body strength and a lower incidence of lymphedema exacerbations.

About 14 percent of the weight-lifting group experienced a flare-up compared to 29 percent of those in the control group, according to a certified lymphedema specialist who examined the participants.

"We found that twice-weekly, slowly progressive strength training does not increase the likelihood of swelling and decreases the likelihood of flare-ups," said study author Kathryn Schmitz, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

In the past, advice to women about dealing with lymphedema has been confusing, Schmitz noted. Standard advice has been to keep the skin clean and moisturized, be careful when clipping nails, wear compression sleeves to prevent swelling or to do gentle, therapeutic exercises to promote lymphatic drainage.

Earlier epidemiological studies found a link between arm injuries or muscle strain and flare-ups, Schmitz said.

"They were extremely well-meaning guidelines that said to avoid stressing the arm," Schmitz said. "What that translated into was advice to avoid lifting anything like grocery bags, children or even a purse."

Not only did this make life more difficult, the lack of activity meant the arm muscles weakened, making muscle strains and other injuries more likely.

"What I'm suggesting is that if women slowly, progressively make themselves stronger, they will be less likely to overuse the arm because they have trained the arm," Schmitz said.

Up to 62 percent of women treated for breast cancer develop lymphedema, an accompanying editorial noted.

A study in the March 16 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that women who develop lymphedema fare worse than women without the condition and have higher out-of-pocket medical costs after radiation and surgery.

Women with lymphedema report a lower quality of life, higher levels of anxiety and depression, an increased likelihood of chronic pain and fatigue and greater difficulty functioning socially and sexually, according to the study. Lymphedema also boosted two-year, postoperative medical costs.

In an accompanying editorial, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, a professor in the department of behavioral science at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, noted that making progressive resistance training a standard part of post-cancer care could help to lower those costs and improve women's lives.

"The significance of the study is that women who have had breast cancer surgery or radiation treatment have been told that they shouldn't lift any weight and to avoid repetitive motions. As a result, we have a generation of women who have almost become incapacitated," Demark-Wahnefried said. "They've been leery to lift groceries or their children, or fail to go back to jobs due to the risk of lymphedema. This study helps to lift some of that concern."

For some of the women in the study, the weight-lifting regimen, which was done at YMCAs in the Philadelphia area with fitness instructors who had received a three-day training in lymphedema care, left them feeling fitter than even before they had cancer, Schmitz said.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on lymphedema.



SOURCES: Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor, epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D., professor, department of behavioral science, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Aug. 13, 2009, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New Published Diet Study Reveals Meal Replacements as Top Strategy for Weight Loss
2. UK study finds meal replacements aid weight loss
3. Zimmerman Travels Across Country for $10M Weight Loss
4. How Weight Loss Helps the Heart
5. Food stamp use linked to weight gain, study finds
6. Slimbolics Signs Marketing Contract for Its Revolutionary Weight Loss Aid
7. Cholesterol Screening Shouldnt Rely on Kids Weight
8. Low Birth Weight Might Raise Adult Kidney Disease Risk
9. Study Finds Weight-Loss Surgery Safer Than Thought
10. Kaiser Permanente Honored for Efforts to Combat Obesity With 2009 Pioneering Innovation Award at Weight of the Nation Conference
11. CDC Recognizes Innovative Obesity Prevention and Control Initiatives With Weight of the Nation Awards
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Weight Lifting Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
(Date:2/25/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 25, 2017 , ... FCPX ... ProSharpen Color tools from Pixel Film Studios. With ProSharpen Color users have total control ... to easily refine their color range. With color spectrum tools users can visually see ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... WHAT: , The New Jersey Tech ... well as advocacy for the state and region‘s technology businesses, hosted their 2017 ... Council's Innovation Forecast event highlights innovation throughout the region from small to large ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... , ... In the Health Care IT campaign, Robert Herjavec discusses health IT ... you will be attacked, but when.” However, he and many others involved highlight a ... Improvements in auditing and monitoring have taken security in health care a very long ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... With ProGlass Prism users now have the ability ... total control over position, rotation, distortion, edge softness, edge blur, chromatic aberration, individual glass ... , With ProGlass Prism users are given the tools and effects to generate ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , ... February 24, 2017 , ... Indiana Fiber Network ... the company later this year. Dyer started as the Chairman of the Management ... the establishment of the corporation including the recruitment of investor/owners and development of the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Empty Capsules Market is poised ... to reach approximately $2.9 billion by 2025. This industry ... on global as well as regional levels presented in the research scope. ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... HARRISBURG, Pa. , Feb. 24, 2017 ... Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jennifer Smith ... role in providing training for and using naloxone, a ... Mark McCullough , a recovery specialist and overdose ... naloxone by EMS providers. "A significant part ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Juan Monteverde , founder and managing ... boutique securities firm headquartered at the Empire State Building ... that a class action lawsuit has been filed in the ... Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:  ITEK)("Inotek" or the "Company") on ... 2015 and December 30, 2016, inclusive (the "Class Period").  ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: