Lifting Weights May Reduce Breast Cancer Lymphedema

Survivors of Breast Cancer who lift weights 2x per week with a slow progression have a lower incidence of Arm Lymphedema.  After breast cancer treatment, incidence of "Breast Lymphedema", "Breast Cancer Lymphedema", "Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema" or "BCRL" often occurring in the arm, is decreased when working out.  This is contrary to what some believe but was confirmed by U. Penn Center for Clinical Epidemiology published in a 2010 randomized trial in JAMA.  Weight Lifting was introduced and Breast Cancer Survivors were monitored for a year including 13 weeks of supervised medical exercise instruction and 9 months unsupervised--134 participants took part.  

Breast Cancer Lymphedema was decreased by 6% in those who performed exercise at least 2x per week.  Breast Cancer Lymphedema occurred in only 11% of those that performed weight lifting while the control group had a 17% incidence of Lymphedema.  Among the aforementioned, at least 2 nodes were removed.  When the 49 participants who had 5 or more nodes removed were analyzed, their decrease was even greater dropping 15% compared to the control group.  

Breast Cancer Survivors are encouraged to slowly work through a progression in weight training.  This has been shown to reduce Lymphedema risks.  Wyatt Rehab offers a Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Program that addresses these needs in a Physical Therapist supervised environment.  Physical Therapists at Wyatt are experts in Breast Cancer Rehab, Breast Cancer Lymphedema, Physical Therapy, Lymphedema Prevention, and Lymphedema Early Intervention. 

This research coupled with the 2012 study in Lymphology extolling tremendous benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage MLD for Breast Cancer Survivors provides extremely strong evidence for Breast Cancer Rehab Programs like those at Wyatt Rehab.  The Lymphology study effectively suggesting MLD after surgery is preventative for Lymphedema- lowering the risk to near zero.  Early intervention, monitoring programs, and preventative measures, e.g., MLD, Physical Therapy, and Medical Exercise Programs greatly reduce the incidence of Breast Cancer Lymphedema.