Researchers at the University of Missouri suggest that exercises will not aggravate the condition of breast cancer survivors who suffer from post-treatment lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition where the breasts of the person undergo swelling because of the removal or radiation of lymph nodes as part of the treatment process. It is estimated that more than 6.8 million Americans either suffer from lymphedema or are at a risk of developing it. (1)
The study reviewed some older literature on breast cancer survivors that suggested that exercise could worsen the lymphedema patient’s agony and that they are recommended to lead a sedate life. After the review the researchers say that the benefits to be had by both the breast cancer survivors and those with lymphedema are far more than the risks of aggravating their condition especially if they are closely monitored. (2)
As per the author of the study, Jane Armer, PhD, RN, FAAN at the University of Missouri, “Exercise can be beneficial and not harmful for breast cancer survivors. Each individual should balance the pros and cons of the activity she chooses, but keep in mind that being sedentary has risks and being active is beneficial in many ways, including possibly reducing the risk of cancer recurrence.” (3)
The researchers after executing a systematic review of contemporary literature said that of specific benefit would be doing weight workouts or any other workouts that provided resistance to the patient’s musculature and skeletal system. Advantages are to be had through carefully increasing the number of repetitions done in such exercise programs. However, what needed t be seen is whether such a program will altogether prevent the breast cancer condition from occurring.
As was the cases earlier, patients of lymphedema were recommended to undergo surgery to ‘fix’ the swelling yet the swelling at best, could only be reduced and not done away with. For this reason, a lot of patients took to wearing traditional compression garments. Other patients undergo traditional therapy using specialized massage and compression garments and bandages to reduce fluid and swelling before considering surgery