Weightlifting cuts lymphedema risk following breast cancer treatment

Washington, Dec 9 (ANI): A new research has revealed that weightlifting may play a key role in the prevention of the painful limb-swelling condition lymphedema following breast cancer treatment.

"Lymphedema is a dreaded, common side effect of breast cancer treatment. Women worry that they will recover from their cancer only to be plagued by this condition that often limits their ability to work, maintain their homes, and care for their children or grandchildren," said lead author Kathryn Schmitz from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

"Our study shows that they now have a weapon to reduce their risk of developing lymphedema, and at the same time, reap the many other health rewards of weightlifting that they have missed out on due to decades of advice to avoid lifting so much as a grocery bag or their purse," Schmitz said.

The researchers enrolled 154 breast cancer survivors without lymphedema who had breast cancer within the previous five years. Overall, they found that a slowly progressive weightlifting regimen cut risk of developing the condition during the yearlong study by 35 percent.

Eleven percent of women in the weightlifting treatment group developed lymphedema, compared to 17 percent of those in the control group, who did not change their normal physical activity level.

Among women who had five or more lymph nodes removed during surgery, the impact of the weightlifting intervention was even greater - a nearly 70 percent risk reduction, with 22 percent of control group participants developing lymphedema, compared to 7 percent in the treatment group.

The results were published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (ANI)

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