Breast Cancer: Soy consumption is likely to reduce death risk

Nupur Jha
soy, breast cancer, death, health, women,

A latest research has revealed that soy can reduce the chances of deaths caused by breast cancer.

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It has been found that soy is a rich source of isoflavone – a plant derived compound, which is a class of phytoestrogens that halts the growth of hormone-sensitive breast tumours.

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The research was carried out by researchers from Tufts University with Fang Fang Zhang as the lead researcher, Medscape reported.

Lab studies revealed that isoflavones present in soy have properties which are similar to that of estrogen, which lowers the growth rate of breast cancer cells, Dr Zhang explained. Asian women diagnosed with breast cancer underwent epidemiological analysis and a link was found between diminished mortality rate and increased isoflavone consumption.

The research also revealed that estrogen-like impacts of isoflavones are likely to lessen effectiveness of hormone therapies used to treat breast cancer, Dr Zhang explained.

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Due to this difference, it's not known whether breast cancer patients should consume isoflavone or prevent it. To clarify this issue, the researchers analysed consumption of isoflavone by 6,235 women who had breast cancer. These women were surveyed over a span of nine years.

It was found that eating dietary soy is safe and cuts down the risk of mortality due to breast cancer for some patients. It was also found that during the follow up period, those women whose isoflavones intake was more had around 21 percent lesser risk of dying in contrast to women who consumed isoflavones in lesser amounts.

This dip in the mortality rate was found in women who weren't taking anti-estrogen therapy called tamoxifen and had hormone-receptor-negative cancer, as per Medical News Today.

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"Based on our results, we do not see a detrimental effect of soy food intake among women who were treated with endocrine therapy," Dr Zhang said.

We now have evidence that soy foods not only prevent breast cancer but also benefit women who have breast cancer. Therefore, we can recommend women to consume soy foods because of soy's many health benefits," said Omer Kucuk from Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

"Although dietary intake of soy foods is healthy and safe, the use of soy isoflavone supplements is another matter, because it has not been evaluated in large, randomized clinical trials," he added.

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