Soy doesn't prevent prostate cancer recurrence

July 9, 2013 in Cancer Prevention, Men's Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Soy doesn't prevent prostate cancer recurrence

Men who took soy supplements after having their prostate cancer removed were just as likely to see their cancer return as men who didn't take soy, finds a new study.

Some doctors believed natural compounds in soybeans, called isoflavones, might help prevent prostate cancer, but more recent studies have found those and other nutritional supplements don't reduce the risk of developing the disease.

For the new study, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago randomly assigned 177 men who'd had their cancerous prostates surgically removed less than four months earlier to drink either a soy or placebo beverage every day for up to two years between July 1997 and May 2010.

Although the vast majority of the participants reported following the instructions, the study was stopped during an early evaluation because there was no benefit seen with soy.

The research team found that 27 percent of the participants in the soy group ended up having their cancer return according to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests, which are used to check for evidence of cancer. That compared to about 30 percent in the placebo group.

Other than undergoing regular PSA tests to check for a recurrence, experts say patients who had their prostate cancer removed have no promising options to help prevent the cancer from coming back.

However, there is some evidence to suggest people who eat soy starting early in life may be less likely to develop prostate cancer in the first place. In other words, men who eat soy their entire life you may benefit from it.

Source:  The Journal of the American Medical Association, online July 9, 2013.

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