Post subject: Weight training improves symptoms for breast cancer survivor
Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:35 am
I am a member of Masterpiece Living, a group set up to help people age successfully and they always send me new studies and information. I thought I would share this with you because it is important information!
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women, although men also have the disease (National Cancer Institute). In the past, survivors who had surgery were advised to avoid weight training because of symptoms of lymphedema, a swelling in the arm and hand. New research suggests that, instead, lifting weights may be the way to control lymphedema.
STUDY: For the clinical trial, 141 breast cancer survivors diagnosed with lymphedema were assigned to a weight-lifting group or a control group (N = 70). For 13 weeks, women in the strength-training group met twice a week for 90 minutes in small-group exercise classes. Trained fitness instructors gradually increased resistance and volume. For the next 39 weeks, the women continued twice-weekly unsupervised exercise, with trainers calling to check on anyone who missed more than one session per week. The women wore a custom-fitted compression garment on their affected arm during their workouts, and each week were asked about changes in symptoms.
FINDINGS: The exercisers experienced fewer exacerbations (worsening) of their condition, and a reduction in symptoms compared to the women who did not lift weights. The proportion of women who experienced an increase of five percent or more in their limb swelling was similar in both groups.
COMMENT: “Our study shows that participating in a safe, structured weight-lifting routine can help women with lymphedema take control of their symptoms and reap the many rewards that resistance training has on their overall health as they begin life as a cancer survivor,” said lead author Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH. “We did the intervention in community fitness centers deliberately, in the hope that positive results seen in our study would continue to be available to breast cancer survivors long beyond the end of the research study.”
SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, 361:664-673 (August 13, 2009)