Expert Point of View: Ann H. Partridge MD, MPH

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Ann H. Partridge MD, MPH, Director of Adult Cancer Survivorship Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, praised the “tremendous work” of Dr. Paskett and her colleagues but referred to the findings as “disappointing to say the least.”1

“Developing interventions to prevent or treat lymphedema is of paramount importance in the breast cancer community,” said Dr. Partridge. “Although these results suggest that this intervention of exercise with education doesn’t work, there are alternative hypotheses we can consider…. Maybe it was the wrong exercise.”

Value of Different Exercise

According to Dr. Partridge, a study by Schmitz et al in The New England Journal of Medicine,2 which focused on weight lifting in women with breast cancer–related lymphedema, could inform Dr. Paskett’s intervention. “Slow, progressive weight-lifting resulted in a decreased incidence of exacerbation of lymphedema, reduced symptoms, and increased strength,” said Dr. ­Partridge of the study. “With that in mind, it might be worth considering different types of exercise to benefit our patients.” ■

Disclosure: Dr. Partridge reported no potential conflicts of interest.


1. Partridge AH: Breast cancer survivorship care: Developing evidence to get it right. 2017 Cancer Survivorship Symposium. Abstract Discussion. Presented January 27, 2017.

2. Schmitz KH, Ahmed RL, Troxel A, et al: Weight lifting in women with breast-cancer-related lymphedema. N Engl J Med 361:664-673, 2009.




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