Study links soy consumption to breast cancer survival

Study links soy consumption to breast cancer survival

Study links soy consumption to breast cancer survival

Breast cancer is the most common malignant tumour diagnosed in Irish women according to the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI).

Each woman's diet was given an inflammatory score, using a method that links diet with inflammatory markers in the blood, and the women were then divided into 5 groups based on their score.

"Because breast cancer takes many years to arise, we were curious whether such a diet during the early phases of a woman's life is a risk factor", Michels said.

Those who adhered most closely to a Mediterranean diet showed more resistance to the development of ER-negative breast cancer than women who adopted the diet the least.

Refined sugars and saturated fat are kept to a minimum.

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 team found a 21 percent decrease in all-cause mortality among women in the highest quartile of intake, when compared to those in the lowest quartile. Those women in the highest score group for adolescent diet had a 35% higher risk for premenopausal breast cancer relative to those in the lowest score group.

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Separate U.S. research found that women already being treated for oestrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer could improve their survival chances by up to a fifth by eating a diet rich in soy.

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. Women who did not receive endocrine therapy as a treatment for their breast cancer had a weaker, but still statistically significant, association".

"For women with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, soy food products may potentially have a protective effect", she said.

During this time, there were 3,354 breast cancer cases among those taking part.

Soy foods are considered among the healthiest for human consumption, but their oestrogen-like properties have raised concerns of a potential increased risk of breast cancer.

Although the traditional Mediterranean diet involves moderate consumption of alcohol, in this study it was excluded from the criteria, as it is a known risk factor for breast cancer and is linked to 12,000 cases annually.

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

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