- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 26, 2006

ATLANTA (AP) — Weight lifting appears to improve breast cancer survivors’ outlook on life, suggests one of the first studies to scientifically measure the effects of such exercise.

About 80 percent of women who took up twice-a-week weight training saw their scores improve on a quality-of-life survey, researchers said, in a study to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Cancer.

In contrast, 51 percent of participants in a control group had improved scores.

The physical and psychological benefits of exercise are well-documented. But this study is the first to apply scientific methodology to looking at how weight training helps women who have had breast cancer.

“This may seem like common sense to most folks, but there has really been no literature or science where researchers tried to quantify and verify the effect,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

Researchers recruited 86 women from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in late 2001 and early 2002. Each of the women had completed successful treatment of breast cancer.

Half the women were assigned to an exercise group. For three months, they met twice a week with personal fitness trainers to develop a weight-lifting regimen.

The second group had no such regimen.

Researchers asked women in both groups a series of questions about physical well-being.

Women in the exercise group had a modest improvement over members of the non-exercising group, Dr. Lichtenfeld noted.

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