For Breast Cancer Survivors, Eating Soy Tied To A Longevity Boost

Soy contains properties that reduced hormone-negative tumor cells in women with breast cancer a new study says

Oestrogen-receptor negative (ER-negative) breast cancer is an aggressive form of postmenopausal breast cancer.

"We found a 21 percent reduction in all-cause mortality among women with the highest dietary intake [of soy], compared to those with the lowest intake", Zhang told us.

"At the population level, we see an association between isoflavone consumption and reduced risk of death in certain groups of women with breast cancer".

Overall survival was 88 per cent for women with no pregnancy, 82 per cent for those with breast cancer while pregnant, and about 97 per cent for women who got pregnant six months or more after a breast cancer diagnosis.

This protective effect of soy was largely confined to patients suffering from hormone receptor-negative tumors and to a lesser extent, patients who were not treated with anti-estrogen therapy.

Multivariate statistical analyses revealed that weight before diagnosis was positively associated with breast cancer death and recurrence. Specifically, it was found that Asian Americans who were young and had more active and healthy lifestyles consumed the most soy.

Dr. Kim Dittus at the UVM Cancer Center says, she's not surprised by the news. To clarify this issue, the researchers analysed consumption of isoflavone by 6,235 women who had breast cancer.

This latest study into the effects of the Mediterranean diet adds to the growing body of findings that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil is an effective weapon against cancer.

In an accompanying editorial, Omer Kucuk, an oncologist who has studied nutrition and cancer prevention at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, argues that the new data helps answer the question of whether soy is safe for women.

A 2015 study by Toledo and Colleagues indicated that the risk of getting invasive breast cancer was reduced by 68 percent in people who consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with EVOO.

But there are some limitations to the study.

What could be the most gravest of risks involved with hair colouring? She says the data from the new study is "a piece of the puzzle".

For now, she says "soy seems to be safe" at the levels women in the US typically consume it, "and it could be beneficial for some women who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer".