UPDATE 10/3/11: New research from the University of Pennsylvania confirms the benefit of weight lifting for breast cancer surgery recovery.
For many of the more than 2 million American women who are breast cancer survivors, life after their diagnosis can be the archetype of picture-perfect health. From eating copious amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit to faithfully adhering to doctor appointments, many breast cancer survivors lead incredibly healthy lives in an attempt to stave off a recurrence of their disease and keep their health in tip-top shape.
But one healthy behavior that breast cancer survivors have been discouraged to partake in is weight lifting, for it is believed that using weights and exercise machines induces swelling and pain around the breast tissue, particularly for those women who have a higher risk for lymphedema, or swollen and painful fluid-filled nodes that occur on the arms or on the hands. Women prone to lymphedema are often discouraged from lifting children, playing tennis or golf, or carrying a heavy bag. But according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, these warnings from doctors may start to quiet down.
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