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Eating Soy Would Likely Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer Death

First Posted: Mar 07, 2017 03:40 AM EST
Benefits Of The Soya Bean
Soy contains isoflavones that prevent the growth of breast tumors.
(Photo : EndPur/YouTube screenshot)

A new study indicates that consumption of soy may reduce the risk of breast cancer mortality. The soy is rich in isoflavone, which is a phytoestrogen that prevents the growth of hormone-sensitive breast tumors.

The study was published online on Cancer on March 6, 2017. It was led by Fang Fang Zhang, MD, Ph.D. from Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts and other colleagues, according to Medscape.

Dr. Zhang said that isoflavones, which are the component of soy that has estrogen-like properties, slow the growth of breast cancer cells in laboratory studies, and epidemiological analyses in East Asian women with breast cancer found links between higher isoflavone intake and reduced mortality. On the other hand, in the other research, it indicates that the estrogen-like effects of isoflavones may reduce the effectiveness of hormone therapies used to breast cancer. Dr. Zhang further explained that because of this disparity, it remains unknown whether isoflavone consumption should be encouraged or avoided for breast cancer patients.

This generates controversy. To shed light on this issue, the researchers studied and examine the isoflavone intake in 6,235 women diagnosed with breast cancer from the U.S. and Canada. They were assessed for the period of 9 years.

The results showed that the dietary soy intake is safe and reduces the mortality risk for some breast cancer patients. Furthermore, during the follow-up period, women with breast cancer who ate many isoflavones were about 21 percent less likely to die compared to those who consumed small amounts of isoflavones. The drop in the mortality risk was observed in women who had hormone-receptor-negative cancer and those who are not taking anti-estrogen therapy like tamoxifen, according to Medical News Today.

Dr. Zhang said that based on the results, they do not see a detrimental effect of soy food intake among women who were treated with endocrine therapy. She further said that for women with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, soy food products may potentially have a protective effect. She added that women who did not receive endocrine therapy as a treatment for their breast cancer had a weaker, but still statistically significant, association.

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