Soy may improve survival rates in some breast cancer patients

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The NCRI data shows that an average of 2,883 cases were diagnosed each year between 2011 and 2013.

Dr. Panagiota Mitrou, director of research funding at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "This important study showed that following a dietary pattern like the Mediterranean diet could help reduce breast cancer risk - particularly the subtype with a poorer prognosis".

A Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of one of the worst types of breast cancer by 40 per cent, an extensive study has suggested.

Risk factors for breast cancer include having a family history of breast cancer, being overweight, having a late menopause, or never giving birth. However, the researchers excluded alcohol from their analysis because it is a known risk factor for breast cancer.

The new findings were published in the journal of the American Cancer Society, Cancer.

Doctors at Tufts University looked at patients eating high amounts of the ingredients found in soy and found they had a lower risk of death.

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"We found a strong link between the Mediterranean diet and reduced oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancer risk among post-menopausal women, even in a non-Mediterranean population".

Although the research provides with positive results pertaining to consumption of soy-based products by breast cancer patients, Kathy Chapman, chair at Cancer Council Australia warned women to be cautious as the "jury is still out".

"Epidemiological analyses in East Asian women with breast cancer found links between higher isoflavone intake and reduced mortality", said Zhang.

Over a median follow-up of nine years, women with breast cancer who consumed high amounts of isoflavones had a 21 per cent lower risk of dying than women who consumed low amounts. A weaker but significant association was also observed among women who did not undergo endocrine therapy treatment.

While the study categorized women in the highest quartile as those who consumed 1.5 milligrams or more of isoflavone per day-equivalent to a few dried soybeans-the authors caution that individuals tend to underestimate their food intake when filling out questionnaires. "Especially for women with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer, soy food products may potentially have a beneficial effect and increase survival". This decrease was primarily found in women with the hormone receptor-negative form of breast cancer and who were not treated with anti-estrogen therapy. "Our findings suggest that survival may be better in patients with a higher consumption of isoflavones from soy food", John said.

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