There are no exercise programs specifically targeting individuals with a history of breast cancer or women who have or are at risk of having lymphedema.
Approximately 2 million women in North American currently live with breast cancer.
As part of the medical management of this disease, the vast majority of these women had had lymph nodes surgically removed from their underarms in a procedure known as auxiliary dissection.
The goal of that procedure is to find out if the cancer has spread to the lymphatic system. Many of these women have also undergone radiation therapy to the breast and/or underarm. These two procedures dramatically increase a woman's risk of developing chronic lymphedema - a permanent, irreversible and sometimes incapacitating swelling of the involved arm and chest area. Lymphedema can develop at any time following breast cancer surgery - from within one month after treatment to 30 years later.
In Dr. Don McKenzie's study with dragon boating, the results showed that no new cases of lymphedema occurred and none of the existing cases became worse.