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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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 self-reported 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 non-lymphedema 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-203
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Society of Lymphology. All rights reserved.


  • Breast cancer
  • DBR
  • Dragon boat racing
  • Exercise
  • Lymph-ICF
  • Lymphedema
  • Quality of life


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