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Soy foods may benefit breast cancer patients

Oestrogen-like compounds found mainly in soy foods may decrease mortality rates in women with some breast cancers, according to new research.

Researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, led by Dr Fang Fang Zhang analysed data from more than 6,000 American and Canadian women with breast cancer.

They found that post-diagnosis consumption of foods containing the compounds called isoflavones was associated with a 21 percent decrease in all-cause mortality.

This decrease was seen only in women with hormone-receptor-negative tumors, and in women who were not treated with endocrine therapy such as tamoxifen.

“At the population level, we see an association between isoflavone consumption and reduced risk of death in certain groups of women with breast cancer. Our results suggest, in specific circumstances, there may be a potential benefit to eating more soy foods as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle,” said Zhang in a statement.

As News.com.au and AAP report, there have previously been fears that, because of its oestrogen-like properties, the consumption of soy may reduce the effectiveness of breast cancer treatment.

Kathy Chapman, chair of the nutrition and physical activity committee at Cancer Council Australia said women should still be cautious about soy supplements.

“Soy foods are usually good for people to be consuming but the advice is not to take this study as meaning it’s OK to for breast cancer survivors to take the large doses you would get in a soy supplement,” she said.

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