BCS Team

ABC News Report: Benefits of Paddling for Breast Cancer Survivors

One of the most common problems that can plague those who have undergone mastectomies – such as Hollywood icon Angelina Jolie – is lymphedema, a painful swelling of the arm.  Between 5% and 20% of breast cancer survivors develop this condition in the first 3 years after surgery, according to the American College of Surgeons.

Not so long ago, patients with lymphedema were told to lay low.  Doctors worried that even something as simple as pushing open a door would overuse the arm on the affected side and worsen the swelling.

Dragon boating was first used for breast cancer recovery in 1996 by Dr. Don McKenzie, a sports medicine physician at the University of British Columbia in Canada.  He launched Abreast in a Boat, to test his theory that more, not less, upper body exercise could help reduce problems.  His studies found that paddlers had less swelling and fewer physical limitations compared with breast cancer survivors who did not exercise.

Since then hundreds of breast cancer survivor dragon boat teams have formed worldwide!

Dragon boat paddling and racing gets breast cancer patients up and moving.  Of course, it is recommended to use a supervised weight-training program  as well with gradual increases in weight, starting slowly and letting any symptoms be a guide.

The medical community believes that the benefits of dragon boat racing go far beyond reducing lymphedema, promoting emotional health and boosting self-esteem, areas of life that often need just as much rehabilitation as the body.

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Guinness World Record -

August 26, 2017

WE HAVE OFFICIALLY MADE HISTORY!!! These amazing #dragonwarriors have just made the Guinness World Records for Breast Cancer#Survivors paddling a half marathon --The crew of 22 breast cancer survivors finished in two hours, 49 minutes and 59 seconds.  for 13.1 miles!!

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Breast Cancer Survivor News


In October, 2014, the ADBC's Breast Cancer Survivor team competed in an International Dragon Boat Festival in Sarasota, Florida!  This newly-formed team placed 48th out of 102 teams from around the world, including: Australia, Italy, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Singapore, and all over the USA!

Annapolis Dragon Boat Club was thrilled to sponsor this special racing team of breast cancer survivors. Although this competition occurs every four years, the 2014 event was the first to happen in the USA!  The "BAD Team" (Baltimore Annapolis Dragons), attended six days of practices, workshops and social events.  For more info on this remarkable event, go to Sarasota BCS 2014 Festival.

2015 RACE TEAM NOTES:  In September, 2015, this team did battle in 200 meter SPRINTS in the picturesque town of Cape May, NJ!  The first race resulted in a TIE FOR 2ND PLACE in a time of 1:08:10 -- a photo finish! The second race, a 4 boat race in the BCS Division, resulted in a FIRST PLACE win by fractions of a second! For this, the team was awarded their first TROPHY! The final race of the day, B Division Womens, resulted in a clear FIRST PLACE victory and a time that would have been a place medal in the A Division! Our coach prepared us well! Practice really paid off!

Racing in Philadelphia in June resulted in GREAT race times early in the season! The Baltimore Challenge was June 28 after a huge storm in difficult conditions and the team medaled with a BRONZE!