TUESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Some breast cancer survivors fear that eating foods containing soy will increase the risk of a cancer recurrence, but new research suggests that those worries appear to be unfounded.
"We did not see any evidence that soy intake after breast cancer increases the risk of recurrence or deaths [from breast cancer]," said Dr. Xiao Ou Shu, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
"Our study indicated that soy food intake among breast cancer survivors is safe and may reduce the risk of recurrence," she said.
She emphasized she is talking about soy foods, such as tofu and soybeans, not soy supplements.
The research is to be presented Tuesday at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Results of studies presented at meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For the study, Shu evaluated data on 9,515 women who had participated in one of three studies of breast cancer survivors: Life After Cancer Epidemiology, Women's Healthy Eating and Living and the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival studies.
Shu reviewed information from food questionnaires on the women's soy food intake. The average time between breast cancer diagnosis and soy food evaluation was about 14 months.
After a follow-up that averaged 7.4 years, Shu found 1,348 breast cancer recurrences and 1,171 deaths from breast cancer and other causes.
Compared to the women who ate the least soy, women in the upper 10th percentile group for soy food intake had a 35 percent reduced risk of recurrence.
Those who ate the most soy also had a 17 percent reduced risk of death from all causes during the follow-up, but that finding did not reach statistical significance, Shu said.
Soy food consumption was considerably higher in the Shang
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