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Pink news: Soy protein cuts risk of breast cancer death

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In the Pink Month or National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the following is intended for breast cancer survivors.

A study published in Journal of American Medical Association suggests use of soy foods may help women diagnosed with breast cancer reduce risk of premature death and recurrence.

The study led by Shu X.O. and colleagues from Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center showed those who had highest intake of soy protein were 30 percent less likely to die or had recurrence of the disease during a 4-year follow-up.

Soy foods are high in isoflavones, phytoestrogens that have been associated with reduced risk of breast cancer in previous studies, according to the background information in the study report.

The study was meant to examine the effect of soy protein intake on the health in women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer.

For the study, the researchers enlisted 5,042 female breast cancer survivors in China ages 20 to 75 years who participated in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study. The participants were diagnosed with the disease between March 2002 and April 2006 and followed up through June 2009.

During the 3.9-year follow-up, of 5,033 women who underwent surgery, 444 women died and 534 suffered recurrence or breast cancer related deaths.

The researchers found those who had highest intake of soy protein were 29 percent less likely to die and 32 percent less likely to have recurrence of breast cancer compared to those who had lowest intake.

The mortality rate among women having the highest intake of soy protein was 7.4 percent compared to 10.3 percent for those who had lowest intake. 

The recurrence rate among those who ate highest amounts of soy foods was 8 percent compared to 11.2 percent among those who had the lowest intake.

The researchers concluded "Among women with breast cancer, soy food consumption was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence."

More reports on diet and breast cancer will be released in the pink month.

(Send your news to foodconsumer.org@gmail.com, Foodconsumer.org is part of the Infoplus.com ™ news and information network)

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (6 posted):

hankster6 on 10/04/2010 18:39:24
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I hope people will get a second opinion of soy products, without just taking the word of the American Medical Ass.
I gave up on doctors years ago and the AMA. They put out a lot of information, when in fact, their information is bogus, but people rely on them for facts. The are some very good sources out that would argue with the AMA about soy products, so get your second and maybe, even 3rd opinions before deciding for yourself.
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billt on 10/04/2010 19:18:49
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Be careful with this one. My wife was told by her doctors to avoid soy products, because her particular type of breast cancer might be negatively influenced by them. And what this study doesn't say is whether this is due to the soy products themselves, or perhaps due to the participants eating LESS in the way of meat products. Less meat is a very good way to avoid cancer so that might explain it better.
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gjdagis on 10/04/2010 19:24:46
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The previous two posters are very astute. I am a family nurse practitioner who remains "on the fence" when it comes to advising my patients on this subject. I have some concern that, since soy proteins resemble estrogen, they might actually be contraindicated, depending on the type of tumor. My advice is to use soy in moderation until further studies are completed.
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Rebecca on 10/04/2010 20:08:03
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I don't know what to think about soy anymore. Everything I read contradicts the last thing I read! One article I read said that whole food soy (like tofu) is good, but processed soy (like soy protien isolate) is bad. Grumble...
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fred on 10/04/2010 20:10:12
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Make sure that it isn't genetically modified. That means look for NON-GMO on package. Organic is best. Otherwise you might as well be promoting cancer and infertility.
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Kathy on 10/31/2010 20:10:49
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I think if you eat soy it should be in the way of whold organic non-GMO soybeans ... not processed soy like tofu or the soy drinks.
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