Posts Tagged ‘weight-lifting’

Lymphedema Risk Reduced by Weightlifting Following Breast Cancer Treatment

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 logo1267406_md In an earlier post on this site (August 21, 2009) research on the benefits of weightlifting to reduce lymphedema risk after treatment for breast cancer in the New England Journal of Medicine was presented. Now another study by this research group in the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented concurrently at the Breast Cancer Symposium in San Antonio reports additional positive results. Previous research prior to these studies showed that up to 47% of breast cancer survivors who had surgery later develop lymphedema. In this current study researchers concluded “Weightlifting may play a key role in the prevention of the painful limb-swelling condition lymphedema following breast cancer treatment……limits the worsening of symptoms among women who already have lymphedema. ”

One hundred fifty four breast cancer survivors without lymphedema treated within the past 5 years were enrolled into the program. Subjects were given a 1 year membership in a fitness center near their homes and attended twice weekly, ninety minute, small group classes for the first 13 weeks. Classes by certified fitness professionals taught safe techniques of weight lifting. Following the 13 week program subjects exercised on their own and were monitored monthly for changes in arm circumference and also reported any changes in symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness and others, on a weekly basis.

Results showed that a slow progressive weight lifting regime cut the risk of developing lymphedema by 35% over the one year study period. Compared with a control group who did not change their physical activity regime, 11 % of the subjects developed lymphedema whereas 17% of the controls developed lymphedema. Results were even more dramatic for women who had 5 or more lymph nodes removed during surgery and later practiced slow progressive weight lifting. This group experienced almost a 70% reduction in the development of lymphedema with 7% developing lymphedema compared to 22 percent in the controls.

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An Aspirin a Day and Weightlifting May Keep the Cancer Away

Friday, August 21st, 2009

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A study reported this month concluded that a daily dose of aspirin decreases the risk of death from colon cancer. Although it has been know that aspirin reduces the risk of developing colon cancer this study that needs to be replicated found that the risk of death in those with colon cancer is reduced by daily aspirin. The study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Assn reviewed 1,279 cases of men and women with colon cancer without metastasis and at different stages from 1980 to 2008. One of the two groups took a regular dose of aspirin (325mg) at least twice a week for a total dose of 650 mg or more for a week. Those with colon cancer and on the aspirin dose were 29% less likely to die of colorectal cancer and 21% less likely to die overall. More information is available at: A second study looked at weight lifting and breast cancer. In the past women treated for breast cancer were warned not to lift heavy items such as babies and groceries to avoid chronic arm swelling (lymphedema). Results of a new study from the University of Pennsylvania reverses this advice. In the study, women who lifted weights twice a week for a year after breast cancer had fewer debilitating symptoms and flare-ups and some of the 70 women were able to completely control the fluid buildup. This study was the the largest and most rigorous to show the benefits without risks of slow, progressive, strength training for women with breast-cancer related lymphedema. More information is available in: Schmitz, K, Ahmed, R, Troxel, A. et al (2009)
Weight Lifting in Women with Breast-Cancer-Related Lymphedema, NEJM, Vol 361, No 7, August 13, 664-672.

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