Exercise and secondary lymphedema: Safety, potential benefits, and research issues

Hayes, Sandi C., Reul-Hirche, Hildegard and Turner, Jane (2009) Exercise and secondary lymphedema: Safety, potential benefits, and research issues. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 41 3: 483-489. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818b98fb

Author Hayes, Sandi C.
Reul-Hirche, Hildegard
Turner, Jane
Title Exercise and secondary lymphedema: Safety, potential benefits, and research issues
Journal name Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0195-9131
Publication date 2009-03
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818b98fb
Open Access Status
Volume 41
Issue 3
Start page 483
End page 489
Total pages 7
Editor Kent Pandolf
Kenneth O. Wilson
Place of publication United States
Publisher Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
110317 Physiotherapy
110319 Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy)
920102 Cancer and Related Disorders
920410 Mental Health
920507 Women's Health
Formatted abstract
Purpose:  Participating in regular physical activity is encouraged after treatment for breast cancer, with exception of those who have subsequently developed lymphedema.  The purpose of this project was to investigate, in a randomized controlled trial, the effect of participating in a supervised, mixed-type exercise program on lymphedema status among women with lymphedema after breast cancer. Methods: Women younger than 76 yr, who completed breast cancer treatment at least 6 months prior and had subsequently developed unilateral, upper-limb lymphedema, were randomly allocated to an intervention (n = 16) or control (n = 16) group. The intervention group (IG) participated in 20 supervised, group, aerobic and resistance exercise sessions over 12 wk, whereas the control group (CG) was instructed to continue habitual activities. Lymphedema status was assessed by bioimpedance spectroscopy (impedance ratio between limbs) and perometry (volume difference between limbs), and independent t-tests (two-tailed P G 0.05) were used to determine statistical significance of observed changes. Results: Mean ratio and volume measures at baseline were similar for the IG (1.13 T 0.15 and 337 T 307 mL, respectively) and the CG (1.13 T 0.19 and 377 T 416 mL, respectively), and no changes were observed over time for either group. Although no group change was observed between preintervention and 3-month follow-up for the IG (ratio and volume change = 0.02 T 0.07 and 2 T 71 mL, respectively), two women in this group no longer had evidence of lymphedema by study end. Average attendance was more than 70% of supervised sessions, there were no withdrawals, and several qualitative comments from participants support the program acceptability. Conclusions: The results from this pilot study indicate that, at minimum, exercise does not exacerbate secondary lymphedema. Women with secondary lymphedema should be encouraged to be physically active, optimizing their physical and psychosocial recovery.
Keyword Physical activity
Breast cancer
Treatment-related side effects
Arm Swelling
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 46 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 08:35:17 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Psychiatry - Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital