Soy potentially healthy for cancer survivors

As research continues to demonstrate the human health value of eating soyfoods, a recently published study shows that soyfoods are not only safe, but also beneficial for breast cancer survivors.

In the past, some doctors have cautioned some breast cancer patients and survivors to avoid eating soy, because of the mild estrogen-like effects exhibited by isoflavones, a natural plant compound in soy, in certain lab conditions. But with this study, recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association, health professionals can feel comfortable recommending soyfoods to breast cancer patients.

The soybean checkoff and the United Soybean Board (USB) fund research on the healthfulness of soyfoods. Checkoff-funded research has helped to prove benefits such as soy’s ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

“It is important the soybean checkoff work with universities and other science-based entities to make sure accurate research is being done which will put factual information out to the public and medical professionals,” says Laura Foell, soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa, and vice-chair of the USB Domestic Marketing program. “Soybean farmers know their product is a very worthwhile and healthy product. With research into soybeans’ nutritional value, the soybean can be considered as part of a healthy diet.”

This particular study tracked more than 5,000 Chinese women, ages 20 to 75, beginning six months after their breast cancer diagnosis. The study’s investigators followed the women’s health for four years and found the group that consumed higher amounts of soy protein, two servings a day, had a lower mortality rate and a lower recurrence rate than those who consumed less soy. All told, the women who consumed the higher amounts of soy had a 30 percent decrease in risk.

“Having known several people with breast cancer, I feel this will give them the option of incorporating soy as part of a healthy diet without the fears or worries about the product,” adds Foell.

To learn more about soyfoods, such as edamame, soymilk and textured soy protein, and how to include more soy in your diet, visit

TAGS: Soybeans
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