University Research Finds That Weight Training Can Be Beneficial to Breast Cancer Survivors

A new study by researchers at Florida State University and Georgia College and State University finds that strength training can help reduce the risk of lymphedema, a common side effect experienced by women who have been treated for breast cancer. Lymphedema is a swelling of the arms and chest area that occurs because, when a woman’s lymph nodes are removed during breast cancer surgery, the body is unable to drain fluids that can build up in certain areas.

panton-3x2But this new research shows that moderate strength training and weight lifting can help reduce the occurrence of lymphedema and reduce the suffering of those experiencing the condition. Lynn Panton, a professor of exercise science at Florida State University and a co-author of the study, notes that “activity facilitates blood flow, so we thought this type of training would likely help women.” Dr. Panton explains that “at one time, women were told they shouldn’t do upper body activities after surgery and treatment because doctors thought it could actually cause swelling to become worse. But we’re finding that strength training can really help women recover from treatment and help prevent and reduce this swelling.”

Professor Panton has taught at Florida State University since 2001. She is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, where she majored in psychology. Dr. Panton earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in exercise physiology at the University of Florida.

The study, “Effects of Resistance Exercise in Women With or At Risk for Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema,” was published on the website of the journal Supportive Care in Cancer. It may be accessed here. Co-authors are Jeong-Su Kim of Florida State University lead author Emily Simonavice of Georgia College and State University.

Filed Under: Research/StudyWomen's Studies


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