More results from the Physical Activity & Lymphedema study were just released. This is the study which found weight lifting beneficial for breast cancer survivors who already had lymphedema. I wrote about the study an August 2009.
Further study has found that lifting weights is good for BC survivors who do not have lymphedema, but are at increased risk. There was no increased development of lymphedema in women who took part in the weight training program compared with those who did not. Interestingly, women at the highest risk for lymphedema - those who had 5 or more lymph nodes removed - had a 70% reduced risk of developing the condition with the weight lifting program. More about the study can be found on the Life-Cise News page.
There are many of us who have been proving this for years by example. I had 14 nodes removed, plus radiation. And I am just one example - there are many. What is key is gradual progression! Never begin with heavy weights. And if you've taken some time off, start again with lighter weights and build gradually.
trainer with experience with cancer and lymphedema. Don't just jump back into what you did before surgery - you can build back up, but don't start there. Many standard practices in training must be modified for cancer survivors when starting out. This is precisely why I started Life-Cise.com; there was far too little quality information available. And those of you who are clients of mine know that I truly believe in weight training for everyone - but especially for breast cancer survivors!
As the researchers noted, the traditional advice of basically not using the affected arm, has been shown to be quite outdated. Evidence now shows that a deconditioned arm is more likely to suffer injury and strain, thereby increasing the likelihood of lymphedema. Lifting weights, when done properly - with a gradually progressive program - is beneficial for breast cancer survivors with or without lymphedema.