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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 Scared Mom of Two, Community Member, asks

Q: Can Soy Milk Cause Breast Cancer/ Breast Pain

Question.  I have been reading that they say Soy Milk can speed up tumours for breast cancer and that if you have issues with too much Estrogen it is not good to drink soy milk? Anyone heard of this?  I am allergic to milk so i drink ALOT of soy and wonder if this could associate with my breast pain?

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Answers (4)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/16/09 2:33pm

According to the latest data, natural soy products - soy milk, soybeans, soy flour - is fine. It's when you break soy down into its components, and use them separately as supplements - e.g., a "natural" soy hot flash tablet - that you can possibly run into trouble. Genistein, one of soy's components, has been shown to make tumors grow when taken alone, but is fine when it's consumed with the entire soy product (milk, beans, etc. - as I indicated above). I wouldn't think drinking soy milk would cause breast pain. You might be experiencing fibrocystic changes, which can be quite painful, and are quite common in women your age. You might want to ask your doctor about this pain at your next physical, see if he/she can identify any FCC. Good luck - PJH

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Mandy, Community Member
10/10/09 2:11pm

Hello, in response to the breast pain issue, at least for me.... soy milk most definitely causes breast pain and tenderness at least a week prior to my period.  I thought I might be imagining things, for people say it is just the opposite.  So I have eliminated it, in a trial period, and did this trial more than once.... and once eliminated there was no breast pain, when I was drinking it.... there was.  I wonder if I should be concerned?

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angela Lindsey, Community Member
11/14/09 2:43am

Your breast pain and tenerness has nothing to do with soy milk, thats common in women a few days before their period.  I get breast tenderness also, which I've discussed with other women, so its not the soy milk.

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felixtkat, Community Member
9/29/10 1:01pm

I'm prone to breast tenderness as well but have found it linked more with caffeine than anything else.  I have also found taking one Evening Primrose Oil pill a day has pretty much stopped the pain prior to each period.  It also helps my mood.  Wink 

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SherriH, Community Member
11/17/10 10:58am

I have found these same results.  Although I normally have the breast tenderness for up to two weeks before my period, when I drink the soy milk I have noticed it to start earlier, be more severe, and my nipples are noticeably more sensitive (like during my two pregnancies) than normal.  When I stop drinking the soy milk, these go away, and I go back to what I'm normally used to during my cylcles.  I have found conflicting information, but I know firsthand that this is happening to me and it is linked to soy milk because of my experiments with it.

So, I am concluding, from my experience and from all the info I've read, that soy has estrogenic effects on me.  Until there is more solid, conclusive research and findings, I will 1. Try a different brand of soy milk, and/or 2. Discontinue my use of soy milk, while I continue to read current info on it. 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/17/10 12:10pm

Thanks for connecting and sharing your experience and your thoughts here, Sherri - much appreciated! PJH

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kalakis, Community Member
4/30/10 10:26am

I am 54 and almost menopausal.  I was having night sweats so my gyno suggested I drink soy milk.  I have one cup per day.  After about a week my sweats stopped, but my breasts started swelling.  I am a full cup larger, and my breasts are very painful.  This happened once before several months ago.  Same scenario exactly, and when I stopped the soy, all the menopausal symptoms came back and my breasts shrunk back down.

 

Now maybe soy doesn't cause breast cancer, but in some people, at least in me, it DEFINITELY acts as an estrogen.  I am certain of this, and in a few years, the experts will figure it out too.

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camimom, Community Member
7/ 2/10 1:10am

In my son it definitely caused problems as well - he is five and was having extreme erection problems while drinking soy milk.  I've been drinking soy protein shakes and am experiencing breast pain, and now I'm beginning to wonder if the soy isn't to blame for that as well.  Very strange.  After his problems I am eliminating ALL soy from our diet immediately.

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som, Community Member
10/ 7/10 10:55am

soy is perfectly healthy.  if you are having problems or side effects then stop using it ... you may be allergic or you may not be using organic soy or you may by using milk from genetically modified soybeans.

 

the dairy industry puts bovine growth hormone into milk ... the beef industry puts 6 steroids (including estrogen and progesterone) into beef ... both are served at our nation's schools ...  

 

the dairy and beef industry has been putting out info for years about the risks of soy ... why?  because it's putting a dent in their sales ... remember how powerful these industries are ... they sued oprah and she spent 2 full months in 1998 for making 2 negative comments about mad cow disease and beef ... OPRAH WON!  but the beef industry was powerful enough to get oprah to spend 2 full months in texas to fight their trumped up charges!

 

i'm not a soy grower, seller or in any way associated with soy ... i am just closely following this cancer plight and heart disease in our country and believe in 15 years (hopefully sooner) the milk/beef industry will be exposed just like the tobacco industry years ago as being much of the cause of our cancer / heart disease problem in this country ...

 

if you haven't seen Food, Inc.  i would highly recommend!

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som, Community Member
10/ 7/10 10:55am

soy is perfectly healthy.  if you are having problems or side effects then stop using it ... you may be allergic or you may not be using organic soy or you may by using milk from genetically modified soybeans.

 

the dairy industry puts bovine growth hormone into milk ... the beef industry puts 6 steroids (including estrogen and progesterone) into beef ... both are served at our nation's schools ...  

 

the dairy and beef industry has been putting out info for years about the risks of soy ... why?  because it's putting a dent in their sales ... remember how powerful these industries are ... they sued oprah and she spent 2 full months in 1998 for making 2 negative comments about mad cow disease and beef ... OPRAH WON!  but the beef industry was powerful enough to get oprah to spend 2 full months in texas to fight their trumped up charges!

 

i'm not a soy grower, seller or in any way associated with soy ... i am just closely following this cancer plight and heart disease in our country and believe in 15 years (hopefully sooner) the milk/beef industry will be exposed just like the tobacco industry years ago as being much of the cause of our cancer / heart disease problem in this country ...

 

if you haven't seen Food, Inc.  i would highly recommend!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/17/12 5:35am

Thanks for adding your thoughtful comments here; points to ponder, indeed. PJH

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camalaf, Community Member
7/ 2/10 1:11am

In my son it definitely caused problems as well - he is five and was having extreme erection problems while drinking soy milk.  I've been drinking soy protein shakes and am experiencing breast pain, and now I'm beginning to wonder if the soy isn't to blame for that as well.  Very strange.  After his problems I am eliminating ALL soy from our diet immediately.

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JC, Community Member
12/13/10 2:15pm

I am a family physician and must say that this is a common question, especially since many people who have tender or fibrocystic breasts are commonly told that soy milk/increasing their soy intake will be helpful.  While it's not true for everyone, I have had many patients increase the soy in their diet, only to develop drastically increased tenderness.  Anecdotally, I have terrible breast tenderness when I consume soy products, but that's just me.

 

It's important to keep a daily diary of your symptoms, joting down your tenderness on a scale of 0-10, for a couple of months at least, so that you can determine if it really is related to soy, or more in tune with your menstrual cycle.  Cut soy out entirely for a month and then add it back at the end of your period, when breast tenderness is usually at a minimum.  I have had many patients who discover that their symptoms are entirely cycle related, and many patients who find that soy is a DEFINITE trigger.  Just because ALL women don't get tender breasts with soy products, doesn't mean you don't!

 

I also talk to patients who have been told that evening primrose oil, borage oil, and Omega 3 sources would make their breast tenderness better, only to have these exacerbate their symptoms as well.  Keeping a diary and adding in only one supplement at a time will help to determine what is helpful and what is not.

 

Good luck, and listen to your body!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/13/10 2:39pm

Wonderful advice, JC - very sensible. Thanks for adding your informed voice to this discussion! PJH

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June Grynberg, Community Member
5/17/12 1:50am

Can drinking soy milk cause Breast Cancer Tumors to form

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
5/17/12 7:29pm

I don't believe that drinking soy milk would cause breast cancer tumors.  In countries where soy is a large part of the diet, breast cancer rates are actually lower than in the United State.  However, it is not clear whether the presence of soy in those diets is the reason for the lower rate.

The problem is that some breast tumors feed on estrogen, and soy milk provides estrogen that might make those tumors grow once they formed.  Moderate amount of soy milk should not be a problem. 

If you read back through this thread, you will see that some people definitely have a response to soy products and some people do not.  I would suggest that you discuss this with your doctor who knows your entire health history, your breast cancer risk, and the other elements in your diet that might put you at risk.  A low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables is generally considered to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; but no one really understands exactly what causes breast cancer.

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By Scared Mom of Two, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/15/13, First Published: 06/16/09