K42 -- October 2010 -- Dragon Boats and Breast Cancer
Intro: What do you get when you arm a bunch of breast cancer survivors and their friends with life vests, boat paddles and pink T-shirts? The answer is a competitive dragon boat team set out to spread the news that exercise and camaraderie are key to beating breast cancer.
[sounds of water] "Three! Four!"
"Dragon boating's been around for 25-hundred years." [sound]
Dragon boating's connection with breast cancer started in the 1990s.
"Everybody looking good in pink!"
That's when an exercise physiologist from Canada challenged what many doctors tell their patients about exercise after surgery.
Breast cancer survivors are often told not to exercise like this because it could cause lymphedema. New research shows that idea might not hold water. [sound]
"We published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine last August that showed exercise, resistive weight training, actually helped women with lymphedema."
Dr. Andrea Cheville says the lymph system is the body's sewage system. It's a network of vessels that collect fluid and solid waste from tissues. Removal of the lymph nodes during breast cancer surgery can cause blockage of lymph flow out of the arm. This can cause swelling and increase your risk of infection. But exercise, when started slowly, can help stop lymphedema for many breast cancer survivors.
This team competes in dragon boat races across the country.
The boat's full of survivors and those who support them.
"I guess I do it in honor of my friends."
They're paddling to prove exercise can help you beat breast cancer. And so can being with a group of women with the spirit to fight.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
For more information about Dragon boats and breast cancer, visit our website at…
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