Two leg press sessions per week reduce the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy during breast cancer treatment
If breast cancer patients do heavy leg presses twice a week during their chemo- and radiotherapy, they literally reduce or reverse the side effects of their treatment. Latvian researchers at Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital are calling for the use of intensive strength training during cancer treatment.
The researchers experimented with 55 women aged 18-63, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. All women underwent surgery, and thereafter usually received radiotherapy, chemos and hormone therapy.
The experiment started 2-3 weeks after the operations. The researchers got half of the women to do strength training twice a week. The training consisted of 2 warm-up sets on the leg press, followed by 4 working sets, also on the leg press. They each consisted of 4 reps to failure, so the women trained with heavy weights.
The women rested for 3 minutes between sets. Each workout lasted approximately 20 minutes.
The control group lost body strength and seemed to be getting a bit fatter, while the experimental group became stronger and kept their weight.
Fatigue, by the way the most common side effect in cancer therapy, decreased in the experimental group. At the same time, the quality of life in the experimental group increased. You see that above.
The women in the control group reported more treatment side effects after the 12 weeks. That was not the case with the women in the experimental group.
The body image of the women in the control group became less positive. This did not happen with the women in the experimental group.
"This study demonstrates a considerable improvement in muscle strength, quality of life and reduction of fatigue after 12-week high-intensity strength training program in breast cancer patients", the researchers summarize.
"These findings give a reason for the authors of the study to recommend incorporating high-intensity strength training in cancer rehabilitation, accompanied by careful screening and supervision of patients during training period."
Exp Oncol. 2019 Jun;41(2):166-72.
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