Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Women with and without Lymphedema following Breast Cancer Treatment

Betty J Smoot, Morgan Johnson, John Duda, Joanne B Krasnoff, Marylin Dodd


Following breast cancer (BC) treatment, many women develop impairments that may impact cardiorespiratory (CR) fitness. The aims of this study were to 1) evaluate CR fitness in women following BC treatment, 2) evaluate differences in CR fitness in those with and without breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) and compare these to age-matched norms, and 3) evaluate the contribution of predictor variables to CR fitness. 136 women post-BC treatment completed testing: 67 with BCRL, and 69 without. VO2 peak was lower in participants compared to published healthy age-matched norms. VO2 peak was statistically significantly lower in women withBCRL. Age, BMI, meeting recommended exercise criteria, and DASH scores explained 50% of the variance in VO2 peak (R=0.708, p<0.001). Following BC treatment CR fitness may be impaired, more-so in women with BCRL. This should be considered when providing rehabilitation for women following BC treatment as cardiorespiratory fitness has linked to improved health outcomes and survivorship.

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Cancer and Clinical Oncology ISSN 1927-4858(Print) ISSN 1927-4866(Online)

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