Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effect of a water-based exercise program on lymphedema status and shoulder range of motion among women with breast cancer-related lymphedema. Design: This was a single-blinded, randomized controlled pilot trial. Twenty-nine eligible breast cancer survivors (median, 10 yrs after surgery) with arm lymphedema (median, 21% interlimb difference) were included and randomized into the intervention (n = 15) or control (n = 14) group. Twenty-five participants completed the study. The intervention was at least twice-weekly water-based exercise for 8 wks, initially supervised but performed independently during the study period. Outcomes of interest were feasibility as measured by retention and adherence; lymphedema status as measured by optoelectronic perometry, bioimpedance spectroscopy, and tissue dielectric constant; and shoulder range of motion as measured by goniometer. Results: Four participants were not measured at postintervention and were not included in the analysis (retention). Four participants in the intervention group did not perform the minimum water-based exercise criteria set (adherence). No effect was found on lymphedema status. Compared with the control group, median range of motion change for flexion was 6 (1-10) degrees (P < 0.001) and 6 (0-15.5) degrees (P = 0.07) for external rotation. A clinically relevant increase in the intervention group was found for 36% in flexion (P ≤ 0.05) and 57% in external rotation (P ≤ 0.05) compared with controls. Conclusions: This study shows that water-based exercise is feasible for breast cancer survivors with arm lymphedema and that shoulder range of motion can be improved years after cancer treatment has been completed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation|
|State||Published - 2013|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation