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Weight lifting helps breast cancer survivors

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have released a study which finds that weight training may be beneficial for breast cancer survivors after they have had surgery, ABCnews.com reports.

The study flies in the face of conventional wisdom of doctors who encouraged patients to stay away from weight training to avoid the painful, arm-swelling condition known as lymphedema. In fact, a slowly progressive weight training program may have reduced or even prevented the complication.

The study followed 154 women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past five years, all of whom had two lymph nodes removed and did not have lymphadema. The participants were divided in two groups, with one put on a 13-week weight lifting program and the other instructed to not exercise at all.

At the end of the one-year study, the women who enrolled in the weight lifting program had cut their risk of developing the condition by 35 percent. Out of both groups, only 11 percent of those in the exercise group developed lymphadema, while the non-exercise group was up to 17 percent.

According to the American Cancer Society, over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors are currently living in the United States. 
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