The advances in breast cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical treatment all reduce breast cancer mortality rates, but they may also lead to complications such as lymphedema. Research shows that the percentage of patients experiencing lymphedema after breast cancer treatment ranges from 2% to 30%. Exercise is an important strategy to help reduce and manage lymphedema. In a recent study, 60 women with lymphedema were randomized into two groups: a clinical Pilates exercise group and a control exercise group that was assigned standard lymphedema management exercises. In both exercise groups, there were significant symptom reductions such as decreased severity of lymphedema, improvements in social appearance anxiety scale scores, improvements in quality of life and use of the affected upper extremity. The improvements were greater in the clinical Pilates exercise group. Pilates is an effective and safe exercise model that can aide in symptom reduction of lymphedema.
Hulya Ozlem Sener, Mehtap Malkoc, Gulbin Ergin, Didem Karadibak, Tugba Yavuzen. Effects of Clinical Pilates Exercises on Patients Developing Lymphedema after Breast Cancer Treatment: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Breast Health 2017; 13: 16-22.