SOURCE: United Soybean Board

United Soybean Board

December 16, 2010 15:34 ET

Soy: A Simple Lifestyle Change for Breast Cancer Patients' Health

Mounting Evidence Suggests Soy May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - December 16, 2010) - New evidence connects modest soy consumption to reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, according to Dr. Mary Hardy, Medical Director of the UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, but not the most lethal. With more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors this year in the U.S., women living with breast cancer must manage their lifestyle to reduce the risk of recurrence, according to Dr. Hardy and other experts. Dr. Hardy presented her conclusions that soy is not only safe but beneficial for this breast cancer recurrent prevention effort at the recent 9th International Soy Symposium in Washington, DC.

"Over the past few years, the latest studies replaced concerns that soyfoods might be harmful for women with breast cancer and women at high risk of developing this disease with evidence that these foods may actually improve the recovery process for breast cancer patients," said symposium organizer and researcher Mark Messina, Ph.D., MS, of Loma Linda University.

Cancer risk reduction recommendations from the American Cancer Society call to consume a healthy, plant-based diet; however some oncologists have been reluctant to recommend soy to breast cancer patients. Dr. Hardy expects oncologists will likely soon move from advising their patients not to consume soy to actively recommending it be part of their diet.

Additionally, a study presented at the 9th Soy Symposium, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reached similar findings. Researchers from Harbin Medical University in China began their study in 2002, following patients diagnosed with early or locally advanced breast cancer and who were receiving hormone therapy after surgery. The study revealed that the recurrence rate in those patients whose diets were highest in soy isoflavones (natural plant compounds known to demonstrate mild estrogen-like effects in certain situations) was between 12.9 percent and 18.7 percent lower than those consuming little soy. Effects were most pronounced in post-menopausal women.

Breast cancer patients need to address their lifestyle with their healthcare provider to combat other chronic conditions as well as cancer recurrence. For example, soy protein is a heart-healthy, cholesterol-free addition to the diet and may protect bones from osteoporosis. According to Dr. Hardy, breast cancer treatment is also likely to cause or exacerbate menopausal symptoms. One way to mildly relieve such symptoms may be to include one to two servings of soy in the diet each day. The Journal of Nutrition, a prestigious, peer-reviewed publication, will publish the proceedings from the 9th International Soy Symposium in an upcoming issue.

Although diet is not likely to be the sole cause or cure, physical activity and a healthy diet may help reduce the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence, according to BreastCancer.org. These recent studies give consumers more reason than ever to incorporate soy into their diet. From soynuts to soymilk and soybeans to soybean oil, there are many ways to add soy to a healthy diet alongside lean meat, whole grains and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Visit SoyConnection.com for more soy research information and recipe ideas.

About USB
The United Soybean Board is a farmer-led organization comprised of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. For additional health information and recipes to put the findings into practice, visit USB's www.SoyConnection.com.

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