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Pumping iron: Madzima publishes article on the benefits of resistance exercise in breast cancer survivors

Titch Madzima, assistant professor of exercise science, has published an article in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise on the effects of moderate to vigorous resistance exercise combined with a daily protein supplement on body composition and muscular strength in breast cancer survivors.

Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Titch Madzima has published a new study showing that regular resistance training can help breast cancer survivors improve body composition and muscular strength.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, with approximately one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Fortunately, treatments for breast cancer such as chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy are often effective. However, they do leave breast cancer survivors to live with several side effects of treatment. Among these, are changes in body composition similar to that of the normal aging process.

With normal aging, adults experience decreases in lean mass (muscle mass) and bone density, as well as increases in fat mass. However, as a result of the cancer itself and cancer treatments these changes in body composition occur in breast cancer patients at an accelerated rate.

Previous studies using resistance training as an intervention in breast cancer survivors have shown improvements in strength but have not shown increases in lean mass. Madzima and his co-authors thought this may be due to the women not eating enough protein or the intensities used in these studies not being high enough to produce an adequate stimulus to build muscle.

Therefore, Madzima and collaborators conducted a 12-week full-body resistance training program with 33 breast cancer survivors. Two days a week, the participants utilized 10 exercises for two sets of 10 repetitions and a last set performed to complete fatigue at 65-81 percent of their one repetition maximum (1RM). In 17 participants, the resistance-training intervention was also combined with a 20-gram protein supplement in the form of a whey and casein blend protein consumed twice a day. This was the first published study to provide a protein supplement to breast cancer survivors participating in a resistance training intervention.

Titch Madzima working with a breast cancer survivor.

Overall the moderate to vigorous exercise intensity was well tolerated. Although the protein supplement did not provide additional benefits, the breast cancer survivors did experience up to 32 percent increases in strength and lean mass (+0.9±1.0kg), and decreases in fat mass (-0.5±1.2kg), and body fat percentage (-1.0±1.2%). This study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise provides evidence of the benefits of moderate to vigorous resistance training in breast cancer survivors.

Madzima believes that this training intensity (65-81percent of 1RM) performed only twice per week provided a sufficient training stimulus needed to see improvements in lean mass that have not been previously reported in breast cancer survivors participating in a resistance training intervention.

Madzima is currently conducting a follow-up study investigating the effects of different resistance training intensities on biomarkers of inflammation. In addition, Madzima and his research students are conducting a longitudinal study assessing body composition and physical activity levels in breast cancer survivors over several years.

The article titled "Effects of Resistance Training and Protein Supplementation in Breast Cancer Survivors" was published in the July 2017 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Madzima's co-authors on the study are Professors Lynn Panton, Michael Ormsbee, and Bob Moffatt from Florida State University and Erica Schleicher from Penn State.

Exercise Science,
12/18/2017 2:45 PM