Soy and Breast Cancer Survival

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“Among women with breast cancer, soy food consumption was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence.”

There is much controversy in the breast cancer world about the consumption of soy proteins.  As much as I would like to think that this study’s conclusions mean it is safe to consume soy products, I still have many unanswered questions.

This study took place in China and their eating habits are different.  I would like to know exactly what kind of soy products were consumed.  Were they made of genetically engineered soy, or not?  Were they the isolated soy proteins so commonly used in the United States?  Were they whole soy products or just the isoflavones?  Were they fermented soy products (sometimes considered safe)?

On the other hand, I think studying actual consumption and its possible effects is a step in the right direction.  I was a bit disappointed to see a financial disclosure that “Dr. Shu reports having received a research development fund from the United Soybean Board in 2005. No other disclosures were reported.”

I am also including a link to a web article about the study that also questions the precise nature of the products consumed (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091208162639.htm).  The study does give a general list, but it is not exact.  Another article about the research provides some insight:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-12-09-soy09_st_N.htm

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Mary Miller- BC Profile in Courage

Soy food intake after diagnosis of breast cancer and survival: an in-depth analysis of combined evidence from cohort studies of US and Chinese women.

Abstract: “Soy foods are rich in isoflavones, a major group of phytoestrogens that have been hypothesized to reduce the risk of breast cancer. However, the estrogen-like effect of isoflavones and the potential interaction between isoflavones and tamoxifen have led to concern about soy food consumption among breast cancer patients.OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association of soy food intake after diagnosis of breast cancer with total mortality and cancer recurrence.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Total mortality and BC recurrence or breast cancer-related deaths.

The inverse association was evident among women with either estrogen receptor-positive or -negative breast cancer and was present in both users and nonusers of tamoxifen.

CONCLUSION: Among women with BC, soy food consumption was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence.” 

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