Research Proves that Exercise after Breast Cancer Surgery Improves Recovery

Exercise is emerging as an important complementary treatment for breast cancer patients and survivors. There is mounting medical research that regular exercise during and after breast cancer treatment improves a woman’s health and well-being.

Most Recent Studies on the Benefits of Exercise for Breast Cancer Survivors

Top-Cited Research Proving the Benefits of Exercise for Breast Cancer Survivors

  • A study of nearly 3,000 women with Stage I to Stage III breast cancer reported that regular physical activity after diagnosis reduced the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. Women who walked a modest pace 1-3 hours per week reduced their risk by 20%; 3-5 hours per week by 50%. (Journal of American Medical Association, 2005)
  • In breast cancer survivors with lymphedema, slowly progressive weight lifting had no significant effect on limb swelling and resulted in a decreased incidence of exacerbations with lymphedema, reduced symptoms and increased strength. (New England Journal of Medicine, 2009)
  • In breast cancer survivors at risk for lymphedema, modest weight lifting can reduce the risk of developing lymphedema. (JAMA, 2010)

Strength & Courage DVD used in Research

  • Outcomes of a Weight Loss Intervention among Rural Breast Cancer Survivors
    In this study, a Strength & Courage DVD was given to each participant as part of the intervention to encourage exercise. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (2012)

Other Notable Research

  • Proven Benefits of Aerobic Exercise After Breast Cancer Surgery
    Four observational studies have now reported decreased total mortality among physically active women with breast cancer. Changes in the estrogen and insulin pathways are potential mechanisms by which physical activity could affect survival. (Breast Cancer Research, 2009)
  • Proven Benefits of Upper Body Exercises After Breast Cancer Surgery
    A review of 24 studies involving 2,132 participants showed exercise can result in a significant improvement in shoulder range of motion in women with breast cancer. Ten studies looked at the effect of early versus delayed implementation of post-operative exercise. Implementing early exercise was more effective. (Cochrane Database Rev. June 2010.)
Strength & Courage

Regain Your Health Through Exercise

The exercises presented in Strength & Courage are an integral part of an effective breast cancer rehabilitation program. We now also offer a new Spanish-language edition, titled Fuerza & Valentía. Each version is available via DVD or digital download.



Recuperar su salud a través del ejercicio Los ejercicios presentados en Fuerza & valentía son una parte integral de un programa de rehabilitación eficaz del cáncer de mama. Disponible como DVD o descarga digital.

Fuerza & Valentia

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