Breast Cancer Survivors Shouldn't Each Soy Products

Beth Brophy Health Guide
  • Revisionist thinking on the soy bean. There was a time, not too long ago, when soy, and its popular form, protein-packed tofu, was being hailed as a panacea for everything from preventing breast cancer to easing hot flashes. Trying to do my part for maintaining good health, I would eat soy in its most palatable forms--edamame, which I serve as a green vegetable at dinner, or chocolate soymilk, which I would pass off to my children as a “healthy milkshake,” or roasted soy nuts. Now I learn, as we so often do when it comes to eating healthy foods, that breast cancer survivors should lay off the soy products. In fact, soy supplements could actually be bad because they contain high levels of isoflavones, including one called genistein, which might encourage breast cancer cells to divide. Also, early clinical trials that showed soy isoflavones reduced hot flashes in menopausal women were not replicated in later trials, casting doubt on that finding. So, I guess I’ll keep eating edamame every so often, because I like it, but not because I think it’s beneficial to my health.
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    Surgery and metastatic breast cancer. A journal article reported in the Washington Post reports that contrary to the usual practice, women with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body might benefit from removing the original tumor. Surgery is often not recommended once the tumor has spread. The five-year study analyzed data on 300 women with metastatic breast cancer; half of them had no surgery. Five years later, 27 percent of the women who had surgery that removed the cancer in the breast were still alive versus 12 percent of the women who did not have surgery.

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Published On: June 02, 2006