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November 2009, Volume 39 Number 11 , p 21 - 23



In a recent study, women with lymphedema who lifted weights had fewer exacerbations, reduced symptoms, and increased strength. These findings contradict current thinking that after breast surgery, using the affected arm to lift children or heavy objects triggers or aggravates lymphedema, which can be extremely painful, debilitating, and difficult to manage.

The randomized, controlled trial involved 141 breast cancer survivors with stable lymphedema of the arm. Some of the women lifted weights twice a week; others were assigned to a non-weight-lifting control group. Women who lifted weights were required to wear a compression garment while training.

Researchers measured the change in hand and arm edema after 1 year, exacerbations ...

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