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Soy:  Good or Bad for Cancer Patients? Soy: Good or Bad for Cancer Patients?

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Unread 08-11-2002, 01:13 AM
Soy: Good or Bad for Cancer Patients?

If anyone knows about the effects of soy on cancer patients I would appreciate your input.

Everyone has heard reports that it is good, but then a report came out that it is bad, because it can act like an estrogen, which if you have a cancer caused by too much estrogen, is a bad thing.

Also, a report came out that said raw soy products like soy milk and the beans are not good for you; that the Asian people the studies are based on do not eat raw soy products, only aged soy products. Perhaps like the Miso you can buy that says "Aged 3 years." I don't know. Hope someone out there knows more.

Thank you.

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Unread 08-11-2002, 03:52 AM
The Little I Know

All I really know is what I've read on the breast cancer board. Many of the women there are very concerned about soy if their tumors were estrogen-receptor positive. They seem to avoid it. They may be a good source of woman-to-woman information for you.
Unread 08-11-2002, 07:17 AM
Soy: Good or Bad for Cancer Patients?

Nobody knows. Soy information is even more cloudy than HRT information. There are agribusinesses funding research so there's very favorable information that says it's good and then quite a bit of underfunded contradictory information.

I would not take concentrated soy isoflavones in a pill or in enhanced drinks--they aren't better than a placebo for menopause symptoms and there are only assumptions about what they do. I'm not sure I'd try to pursue every bit of soy and drive it out of my diet though based on what's known now. For one thing the phytoestrogens in whole soy are really low levels.

Another source of a lot of perspectives (not specifically cancer related though) at the No-hormone Desert. There's also an account of what research I could find at I hit that "fermented" argument too back when I was reading in the medical literature and it's fairly convincing. I was hoping to find something good to use. It's still possible that it might prove to be an anti-estrogen, like raloxifene, but right now they just know too little about it to feel comfortable using it.
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Unread 08-11-2002, 09:36 AM
Soy: Good or Bad for Cancer Patients?

Yeap, Trish!

That's exactly what my Dr told me when we discussed it a while back. He just wasn't sure of the actual estrogen reaction and since mine was/is the estrogen receptive "flavor" wasn't comfortable with my using any.

Don't know either, I think its benefits and/or risks are weighed on a case by case basis by the Dr's. I would definately discuss soy use with your Dr prior to trying any just to be on the safe side however.


Unread 08-11-2002, 11:27 PM
Soy: Good or Bad for Cancer Patients?

Dang! You all are current in your knowledge. Thank you for the breast ca. website Margaret. That looks promising. Thank you Trish for your website and wonderfully detailed update. And Vicki, I'm amazed you have a doctor who has time to discuss diet. You are lucky. I think diet is very important but my doctor acts like I'm asking him what color panty hose I should wear when I bring up topics like nutrition.

Oh well.
Thanks again.
Unread 08-11-2002, 11:58 PM
Soy: Good or Bad for Cancer Patients?

I went to Margaret's site under breast cancer. What a great site!

A women asked, "By changing my diet to include soy could I be getting too much estrogen?"

A Dr. Shanahan answers, "Consult your doctor about soy products, especially if you have a history of breast cancer....
It is unlikely that you can "overdose" on estrogen by adding soy products to your diet. Soy is a good source of phytoestrogens, estrogen-like compounds from plants. Phytoestrogens are not estrogen; in some ways and in some tissues of the body, they act like estrogen (decreasing hot flashes and lowering total cholesterol, for example), but in other areas, they act the opposite way (in the breast, perhaps, which may lower risk of breast cancer).
You are doing yourself a lot of good by adding soy to your diet. Eat lots of vegetables, whole grains and fruits as well, and limit saturated fats...."
If your doctor is worried that you are getting too much estrogen by eating soy, that fear can be allayed by doing a test to measure the amount of estrogen in your blood...."

So, there is another opinion.


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