March 28, 2006 Philadelphia, PA --
Although past studies have verified that exercise assists in speedier breast cancer recovery, the most recent study focused on the positive effects of training with weights and its effect on breast cancer recovery.
This latest study suggests that breast cancer survivors who take part in regular weight-training exercises have improvements in strength and body composition that, in turn, help improve their self-esteem and overall quality of life.
Breast-cancer survivors often struggle with a variety of quality-of-life complaints, including insomnia, weight gain, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.
In a study of 86 women who were between four and 36 months past their primary treatment, those who were assigned to twice-weekly weight-training sessions had significantly better quality-of-life score and global psychological scores compared with controls, reported Kathryn H. Schmitz, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues at the University of Minnesota.
Those in the weight-training group were taught how to perform nine common weight-based exercises using free weights and resistance machines to work the muscles of their chest, back, shoulders, arms, buttocks, hips and thighs.
"They put in two sessions a week, one hour each time, for six months," said study co-author Dr. Tetsuya Ohira, a visiting scholar in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota.
Specific Exercises to Reduce Lymphedema
In a previous publication, Andrea Leonard-Bruno, a noted fitness trainer who focuses on breast cancer rehab and author of Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors, developed a specific series of exercises using the
. She developed a series of exercise to help patients regain their range of motion, strength, and also to prevent complications of Lymphedema, a fairly common side effect after damage to or removal of the lymph nodes following radiation or surgery.
Improvement in Quality of Life
This latest study assessed the women's body fat, weight, bone density and upper and lower body strength, among other measurements. And they asked the women about daily problems and their quality of life, such as state of mind and satisfaction with relationships.
"The mechanism by which weight training may improve quality of life in breast cancer survivors may be a sense of return to feeling in control of their bodies that may translate into feeling greater efficacy in other areas of life," Dr. Schmitz and colleagues