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QUALITY OF LIFE IN BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS: AN ASSESSMENT OF INTERNATIONAL BREAST CANCER DRAGON BOAT RACERS

L Koehler, S Rosenberg, J Cater, K Mikolajczyk, A Moran, C Metz, S Monson

Abstract


Resistance exercise is deemed safe for
women recovering from conventional breast
cancer therapies but few clinicians are aware
that dragon boat racing, as a form of resistive
exercise, is available to the breast cancer
community. The objectives of this study were to
1) increase clinician awareness of dragon boat
racing (DBR) in breast cancer survivors as a
community-based physical activity, and 2)
evaluate quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer
survivors with or without lymphedema who
participate in DBR. This prospective, observational
study surveyed 1,069 international
breast cancer dragon boat racers from eight
countries to compare function, activity, and
participation in women with and without selfreported
lymphedema using the Lymph-ICF
questionnaire. Seventy-one percent of women
(n=758) completed the questionnaires. Results
revealed significantly higher Lymph-ICF scores
in the lymphedema participants, signifying
reduced QOL, when compared to the nonlymphedema
participants (p<0.05), except for
"go on vacation" for which no statistical
difference was reported (p=0.20). International
breast cancer survivors with lymphedema
participating in DBR at an international
competition had reduced function, limited
activity, and restricted participation compared
to participants without lymphedema.
Clinicians should consider utilizing DBR as a
community-based activity to support exercise
and physical activity after a breast cancer
diagnosis.


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