Many women who have breast-cancer surgery that involves the dissection of axillary lymph nodes develop secondary lymphedema.

New research shows a combination of massage therapy, manual lymph drainage and assisted shoulder exercises reduced the development of secondary lymphedema for at least one year after breast-cancer surgery.

The randomised, single-blinded clinical trial involved 116 women, shortly after they received unilateral breast-cancer surgery with axillary lymph node dissection, assigned to either the intervention group or the control group.

This research showed that the incidence of secondary lymphedema was significantly higher in the control group than the intervention group at the one-year follow-up point.

A full research report on this study will be published in the September 2010 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. The research originally ran in the December Jan. 12, 2010 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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