Study links soy consumption to breast cancer survival

Posted March 07, 2017

Each year more than 55,000 women in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with breast cancer, 30 percent of whom have ER-negative cancers.

The latest study, based on 62,573 women aged between 55 and 69, found that those who stuck to a Mediterranean diet most closely could significantly reduce their risk of developing the oestrogen-receptor negative (ER-negative) subtype of breast cancer. Those in the group with the highest score were 35 percent more likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer, compared with those in the group with the lowest score.

Refined sugars and saturated fat are kept to a minimum.

Professor Brandt said, "Our research can help to shine a light on how dietary patterns can effect our cancer risk".

The new findings were published in the journal of the American Cancer Society, Cancer.

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"Epidemiological analyses in East Asian women with breast cancer found links between higher isoflavone intake and reduced mortality", said Zhang.

Although survival from breast cancer is high - at a rate of 82% five-year survival - it remains the second most common cause of cancer death in women, with an average of 690 deaths a year in Ireland during 2011 - 2012.

Researchers studied women who, as high schoolers, had consumed diets thought to increase levels of inflammation in the body.

While the study categorized women in the highest quartile as those who consumed 1.5 milligrams or more of isoflavone per day-equivalent to a few dried soybeans-the authors caution that individuals tend to underestimate their food intake when filling out questionnaires.

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

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It's important to note that the study found only an association between an inflammatory diet and the risk of breast cancer, and can not prove that this type of diet caused the women's breast cancer.

"Whether lifestyle factors can improve survival after diagnosis is an important question for women diagnosed with hormone-receptor negative breast cancer, a more aggressive type of breast cancer. Women who did not receive endocrine therapy as a treatment for their breast cancer had a weaker, but still statistically significant, association".

The same analysis was conducted based on early adulthood diet, and researchers determined that those in the highest inflammatory score group had a 41% higher risk for premenopausal breast cancer relative to those in the lowest-score group.

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

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