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Effect of soy consumption on breast cancer

Researchers have only recently started to investigate the possible effects of soy to breast cancer. More and more women who are adding soy to their diets to help prevent breast cancer but researchers are unsure of the exact effects.

How can soy protect against cancer?

Some animal studies and small human clinical trials have shown that soy foods may offer some protection against breast cancer. Researchers believe that isoflavones may help protect against breast cancer because isoflavones compete with natural estrogen in the body to bind to special estrogen receptors on cells.
It is known that estrogen stimulates breast cell growth. Because isoflavones may block estrogen from reaching estrogen receptors, pre-menopausal women who include soy in their diet may decrease their risk of breast cancer.

Risk of soy for post-menopausal women

There's more uncertainty regarding the effects of soy isoflavones in post-menopausal women. Studies have shown that soy isoflavones may provide post-menopausal women with many of the benefits as hormone replacement therapy (HRT): reduction of hot flashes, vaginal dryness and protection against heart disease and bone loss (osteoporosis). One study with mice showed that genistein (an isoflavone found in soy) had adverse effects on the development of cancer. This is an animal study and it's unclear if the same effects will be seen in humans.
Whether soy can help protect against breast cancer in post-menopausal women is unclear at this time. Some researchers believe that soy consumption may actually increase the risk for breast cancer in post-menopausal women because the chemical structure of isoflavones is very similar to estrogen. Although experts say the effects are still unknown , no studies have clearly shown that that consumption of soy by humans increase breast cancer risk. Asian women, who consume more soy than Western woman, have a breast cancer rate one-fifth that of Western women. Also unknown are the effects of phytoestrogens on women who already have breast cancer or those at risk because of genetic factors.A recent study "Breast and Uterine Effects of Soy Isoflavones and Conjugated Equine Estrogens in Postmenopausal Female Monkeys", published in the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggested that high dietary levels of soy isoflavones do not stimulate breast or uterine proliferation in postmenopausal monkeys and may contribute to an estrogen profile associated with reduced breast cancer risk.

Comments

Soy and breast cancer

I was initially told that soya milk enhances breast growth but now am seeing something like it causes breast cancer.....can someone help me out so i dont do the wrong thing or is there any other way of enhancing breast growth?
Tosin - 22/10/2013

Soy and breast cancer

You can find many references claiming that soy consumption increases breast growth. Some companies even sell supplements with isoflavones to promote breast growth. Soy contains isoflavones, a plant-derived estrogen. Human estrogen is necessary for breast development and increasing soy consumption may enhance breast growth. But there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.

And what about the link between soy milk consumption and increased the risk of breast cancer? In recent years the relationship between soyfoods and breast cancer has become controversial because of concerns, mainly based experiments with rodents and in test tubes, that soy isoflavones may stimulate the growth of existing estrogen-sensitive breast tumors. But according to a study by Mensina and Wood (1) "there are no data to support the idea that soyfoods or isoflavones supplements improve the prognosis of breast cancer patients". They found that the intake of soyfoods and supplements, when taken at dietary levels, had no influence on breast cancer recurrence and mortality.

(1) Soy isoflavones, estrogen therapy, and breast cancer risk: analysis and commentary. Nutr J. 2008 Jun 3;7:17.
Rob - 23/10/2013

cancer patient and soya base food

Can cancer patient take soya based food like taufofa?
sheiza sharin - 01/05/2014

Soya products and cancer

Scientific studies indicate that soya products are safe for cancer patients and that they actually reduce the risk of many cancers. However, women with estrogen-positive breast cancers are often advised by doctors to limit their intake of soy products. This is because soya isoflavones are structurally similar to human estrogen, which is known to increase breast cancer risk. But this similarity does not necessarily mean that soya isoflavones increase breast cancer risk. Recent studies indicate that soya isoflavones may actually lower recurrence among postmenopausal women.


Rob - 01/05/2014

cancer patient and soya base food

I just read a recent study "Soy products in the management of breast cancer" that concluded that soy foods consumed at levels comparable to those in Asian populations have no detrimental effects on risk of breast cancer recurrence and in some cases significantly reduce the risk. In addition, soy products do not appear to interfere with tamoxifen or anastrozole therapy.


Joseph - 02/05/2014

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