More evidence that soy protects from breast cancer

July 9, 2002 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

More evidence that soy protects from breast cancer

Women who eat a diet rich in soy products are 60% less likely to have "high-risk" breast tissue than women with the least soy in their diet, say scientists from the National University of Singapore, Cancer Research UK and the US National Cancer Institute.

Scientists have previously suggested that soy intake might contribute to the low rates of breast cancer in countries like China and Japan but research has proved inconclusive. The latest research combined data from two studies of Chinese women in Singapore. The first study focused on women's eating habits, including their intake of soy, while the second used mammograms to classify women according to the density of their breast tissue.

The scientists found that soy protein intake was inversely related to high-risk tissue. Other research has shown that dense tissue is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This research shows for the first time how the amount of soy a woman eats may have an effect on breast tissue and in turn may potentially reduce her risk of breast cancer. Soy is a rich source of plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) called isoflavones, which are known to protect against breast cancer in animals.

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