Soy food reduces risk for breast cancer survivors

Wednesday, 29 May, 2019

Soy food reduces risk for breast cancer survivors

For pre-menopausal breast cancer survivors, following a soy-rich diet can decrease their risk of bone fractures.

This is according to a new US study published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Many breast cancer treatments can cause premature menopause and decreased bone mineral density, leading to a higher incidence of osteoporosis-related fractures among survivors compared with healthy women of the same age.

Researchers looked at the impact of BMI, exercise and soy food consumption on bone fracture rates among breast cancer survivors over a 10-year period. They used data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study of 5042 newly diagnosed breast cancer survivors aged 20–75 years.

The study found that 3.6% of survivors reported an osteoporotic bone fracture over the 10-year period, but higher soy intake was linked to a 77% reduced risk of osteoporotic fractures in younger women.

Soy-based foods, which are rich in isoflavones, provide a natural selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that helps increase bone mineral density, according to the study.

Consistent with previous studies, the researchers found the use of tamoxifen, a SERM and breast cancer drug, showed a 37% reduced risk of fractures.

“The menopausal transition is known to be a period of high risk for bone loss, and given the relative scarcity of data related to fracture risk among younger women with breast cancer, this study marks an important contribution to this body of literature,” said lead author Evelyn Hsieh from the Yale School of Medicine. “Our findings, in particular regarding the protective effects of soy food consumption, provide novel insight into how future interventions can be best tailored to different risk groups.”

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