Published online Aug 10, 2015. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v6.i4.43
Peer-review started: May 16, 2015
First decision: June 3, 2015
Revised: June 21, 2015
Accepted: June 30, 2015
Article in press: July 2, 2015
Published online: August 10, 2015
Lymphedema is an atypical accumulation of high-protein fluid located just beneath the skin, which often occurs in the arm or leg. Exercising with lymphedema was traditionally considered to be unsafe. However, recent research indicates that exercise may be beneficial to individuals with lymphedema. Studies indicate that exercise can improve the range of motion and strength of the afflicted limb(s), as well as overall fitness and functional quality of life, and can be performed without exacerbating symptoms of lymphedema.
Core tip: Recent research lends credibility to the safety and efficacy of strength training in women with breast cancer-related lymphedema. Appropriately prescribed upper body resistance exercise, carried out under the supervision of a certified cancer exercise trainer is not likely to cause an increased risk of lymphedema or symptom exacerbation.