Study Shows Benefits of Soybean in Women with Breast Cancer

For the study, the researchers analyzed information from more than 45,000 female nurses who began the study when they were ages 27 to 44, and were followed for 22 years.

The NCRI data shows that an average of 2,883 cases were diagnosed each year between 2011 and 2013.

Dr Panagiota Mitrou, director of research funding at the charity World Cancer Research Fund, which funded the new research, said: "This important study showed that following a dietary pattern like the Mediterranean diet, could help reduce breast cancer risk - particularly the subtype with a poorer prognosis". In 1998, when the women were aged 33 to 52, they completed another food frequency questionnaire about their diet during high school.

The study, led by nutrition and cancer epidemiologist Fang Fang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, was published March 6 in Cancer. The benefits may not apply to all types of breast cancer, however.

It found that those who stuck closest to a Mediterranean diet had a 40 per cent reduced risk of oestrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer. Alcohol is a part of it but the researchers kept it away in their study as it has been earlier linked to cancer.

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"Based on our results, we do not see a detrimental effect of soy food intake among women who were treated with endocrine therapy", Zhang said in the release.

Around 3,300 women in the study developed the disease, but 1,033 women were eliminated from the study because they had a family history of breast cancer or there wasn't reliable data on them. The study showed no link between high levels of isoflavone intake and a greater mortality in women taking hormone therapy medications. The association between isoflavone intake and reduced mortality was strongest in women with tumors that lacked estrogen and progesterone receptors.

To provide some clarity, researchers looked at the relationship between dietary intake of isoflavones and death from any cause in 6235 American and Canadian women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Following a Mediterranean diet only had a weak non-significant effect on the risk of hormone-sensitive ER-positive breast cancer, the study found. Women who were in the group with the highest score in terms of their diet in adolescence was estimated that there were 35% more likely to develop breast cancer before menopause than women who were in the group with the lowest score.

"Our findings suggest that survival may be better in patients with a higher consumption of isoflavones", she said.

  • Ismael Montgomery