Benefits & Safety of Exercise Showcased At Cancer Survivors' ConferenceJULY 23, 2010
"Cancer survivors are at higher risk for recurrence and second cancers, so anything that can be done to reduce that risk and help build strength and health should survivors need additional cancer treatment is important," says Kathryn H. Schmitz, PhD, MPH, associate professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Abramson Cancer Center member. In continued coverage, Schmitz was featured in an article in Oncology Times for her participation in the recent Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, LIVESTRONG, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reporters covered Schmitz describing the Physical Activity and Lymphedema (PAL) trial, a supervised upper body exercise intervention among 295 breast cancer survivors with and without lymphedema at YMCAs with specially trained YMCA instructors. Women in this twice-weekly program must have a written physician clearance. "There appears to be tremendous interest in sustaining and growing this program," says Schmitz, who adds, "We cut the number of lymphedema flare-ups in half." Schmitz admits there are challenges with the program, including developing trust with the oncology community and coping with the high staff turnover at YMCAs. But, she says, in addition to the health benefits, the cost-saving payoffs for such a program could be large, because "survivors with lymphedema have double the costs of survivors without lymphedema."