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Exercise and Lymphedema

Oct 16, 2012

Inspired today by Martha Kaley, founder of Friends for and Earlier Breast Cancer Test, we decided to write a little post about the importance of appropriate exercise after dealing with the circumstances of breast cancer surgery. The lymph nodes are often affected in patients with breast cancer. Lymphedema occurs when fluid is not able to flow through the body the way it should. The fluid, lymph, builds up in the soft tissues and causes swelling. This is often the result of having had cancer.

In women who have had breast cancer, upper-body exercise is safe when they are at risk for developing lymphedema or if they have already developed it. Strength training, starting with light weights and slowly increasing is a safe and effective form of exercise to help lymphedema from getting worse. All exercise should be cleared by a lyphedema therapist and oncologist before beginning a program.


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