Training to Prevent Lymphedema: Sentinel Node Biopsy

Last Modified: January 12, 2011

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I had a sentinel node biopsy- how high is my risk of lymphedema and would weight training help me?

Answer

Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, cancer rehabilitation researcher at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

The risk for lymphedema is linear in relation to the # of nodes removed. That means that one node confers less risk than having 5 nodes removed. Among women who undergo sentinel lymph node biopsy, the risk of lymphedema varies across studies from 2% to 17%. There are a variety of other factors that will contribute to a given woman's individual risk too, such as radiation therapy.
And YES, Weight training would still help you.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the entire transcript: Physical Activity & Lymphedema (PAL) Trial Results with Dr. Kathryn Schmitz,PhD, MPH Webchat.