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Should Breast Cancer Patients Avoid Soy?

Many people with a history of breast cancer are concerned that eating tofu and drinking soy milk may promote the growth of cancer cells. The reason for this is that some breast cancer cells proliferate when stimulated by estrogen, and the isoflavones in soybeans are similar in structure to estrogen. Actually, the presence of genistein (an isoflavone)in soybeans has been shown to impede the growth of cancer cells. It also has antioxidant properties and has been identified as an angiogenesis inhibitor. In fact, studies have shown that breast cancer survivors who eat soy lower their risk of breast cancer recurrence.

At the moment, information on the safety of soy supplements remains inconclusive. Due to the concentration of supplements, there is a risk of estrogen-like effects so they are not recommended.

Rich in protein, soyfoods are recommended for daily consumption for everyone including breast cancer patients. A diet low in meat and heavy in fruits and vegetables can also help reduce the risk of cancer.


Information by: Registered Dietitian from Hong Kong Adventist Hospital