University of PennsylvaniaWe had reported in our previous article that weight lifting may help in easing the symptoms of lymphedema in some breast cancer survivors. A recent study from University of Pennsylvania further mentioned that in addition to building muscle, weightlifting may also boost self-esteem among breast cancer survivors.

It is claimed that breast cancer survivors who lift weights often may feel healthier about their bodies and appearance. They are more pleased with their intimate relationships as opposed to survivors who do not lift weights. Survivors’ self-perceptions supposedly enhanced with weight lifting irrespective of how much strength they acquired during the year-long study, or whether they suffer from lymphedema, a terminal and occasionally devastating side effect of breast surgery.

“It looks like weight training is not only safe and may make lymphedema flare ups less frequent, but it also seems help women feel better about their bodies. The results suggest that the act of spending time with your body was the thing that was important –– not the physical results of strength,” commented senior author Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a member of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.

These new results are supposedly derived from a trial that examined the effect of twice-weekly weight lifting for 12 months on survivors’ health and emotional status. In the first report from the trial, Schmitz and colleagues discovered that lymphedema sufferers who lifted weights apparently had fewer chances to undergo a deterioration of their arm-swelling condition.

But it is now discovered that the advantages does not limit to only this. Survivors who took part in regular weight-lifting during the trial apparently saw a 12 percent enhancement in their body image and satisfaction with their intimate relationships over the 12 months of the study as opposed to a 2 percent progress accounted by the women in the control group of the study. Both groups of women apparently profited emotionally from the weight lifting in the study known as the Physical Activity and Lymphedema (PAL) trial.

Unlike several medical study surveys that inquire about general quality of life factors, the one utilized in this study was supposedly created exclusively for and by breast cancer survivors. It was known as the Body Image and Relationship Scale. The questionnaire was formed with the assistance of survivors who had taken part in earlier clinical trials. The new data are supposedly extracted from questionnaires finished by around 234 breast cancer survivors at the start and conclusion of the trial.

Schmitz remarked, “They told us the basic quality of life questionnaire didn’t cover what was important to them. They told us what was changing with regular weight lifting and what they cared about, including feeling more proud of their bodies, feeling more comfortable in their own skin, feeling more empowered emotionally because they were more physically powerful, feeling sexier, feeling more like they could wear sleeveless things, feeling more comfortable having people touch their upper bodies, and some of them reported their sex lives improved.”

To Schmitz’ shock, no such quality of life questionnaire was supposedly present when she commenced the PAL trial, so she and her team apparently planned the Body Image and Relationship Scale. There has been an aching need for this assessment tool, not just here, but internationally.

The survey has already been translated into five other languages i.e. Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Hebrew, and Swedish and efforts to use it in clinical practice are underway. These are the issues that women have reported that they cared about for a long time but nobody was ever asking them the question.

This study was published in the Journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.