Build arm strength after sentinel node biopsy?

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Question from Sue: Having had a sentinel node biopsy, how do I reconcile the need/desire to build arm strength with the admonition to avoid lifting with the affected arm?
Answers - Julie Gralow, M.D. If just a sentinel node procedure has been done, the long term consequences with respect to risk of lymphedema, restricted arm motion and neuropathy are much, much less than for patients who have had an axillary lymph node dissection. It's not zero, but it's much less. So neither I nor a breast surgeon would recommend any restriction in arm activity post sentinel node biopsy, or for most women after an axillary dissection. Of course, post-op we will recommend common sense. But long-term, no limitations.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Physical Activity and Breast Cancer featured Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Julie Gralow, M.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about the many issues related to physical activity and breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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