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Soy Won't Help Prevent Prostate Cancer Recurrence

First Posted: Jul 10, 2013 10:28 AM EDT
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For men who are looking to soy supplements as a prevention method against the possibility that their prostate cancer may return, a new study shows that they are just as likely to see the cancer return as men who didn't take any soy.

"I think this study clearly demonstrates men in this particular situation... will not benefit," said Maarten Bosland, the study's lead author from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

This comes as shocking news as the American Cancer Society lists prostate cancer as the second most common cancer among men following skin cancer. In fact, it's estimated that one in every six men will be diagnosed with it.

While it was previously thought that isoflavones might have helped in preventing prostate cancer, more recent studies show that other nutritional supplements don't reduce the risk for developing the disease.

However, Bosland and his colleagues found that soy supplements didn't make any difference at all. For the study, they randomly assigned 177 men who'd had their cancerous prostates surgically removed less than four months earlier to drink either a soy or placebo beverage every day for up to two years between July 1997 and May 2010.

Though participants followed dietary instructions, the study was stopped early because researchers saw no added benefit with soy, according to Bosland.

In fact, they found that 27 percent of the particiipants in the soy group ended up having their cancer return according to the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests, which are used to check cancer levels in the body. These findings were compared with 30 percent in the placebo group.

"When we did the analysis and there was an absolute absence of the effect, I was a little surprised. But in a way, it was good because the outcome was clear," Bosland said, via Reuters.

While soy supplements may not help reduce your prostate cancer risk or recurrence  if your prostate cancer is in remission, there are other things to turn to in the hopes of becoming cancer free. Here are some guidelines recommended by the Mayo Clinic.

More information regarding the findings can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association

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