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Soy and ovarian cancer
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Soy and ovarian cancer

The recent article in the Herald Sun stated that the Cancer Council issued an alert for cancer patients who have high soy diets for the first time (http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,21054399-661,00.html)
The article links soy intake to breast and prostate cancer, because they are hormone-dependent cancers.  Does ovarian cancer fall under "hormone-dependent" as well?  It seems that most other research says that soy is preventative against cancer, so I have been telling my mom to eat more soy.  But she is going through chemo for ovarian 2c cancer - now that I've read this article, I'm wondering if more soy truly does promote the cancer/counteract the chemo?!  Or maybe this data is only pertinent to breast/prostate anyway?  Very confused...
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242604_tn?1328124825
Hi There,
thank you for your interesting question. This issue comes up alot for women who do not want to go on estrogen replacement therapy after menopause (either natural or surgically induced) but have significant estrogen deficiency symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia.

Soy products contain a plant estrogen that biochemically looks very different than animal estrogen. But there is some cross reactivity. The phytoestrogens called isoflavones seem to help many women with hot flashes. Interestingly they do not really reduce osteoporosis or vaginal dryness which are significantly improved with animal estrogen. So phytoestrogens have only partial estrogen effects.

Now real estrogen -in excess- has been associated with the development of certain cancers including breast and endometrial (cancer of the lining of the uterus). The data on estrogen and ovarian cancer is quite mixed. In fact, there is strong support that the use of the birth control pill which contains a fairly high dose of estrogen ( about 16 times the dose that is in the estrogen replacement medications used at menopause) is protective against ovarian cancer.

More recently, the women's health initiative (WHI)showed that for women in their 60's who took prempro ( a combination estrogen and progesterone) for more than 5 years, there was a small increase in ovarian cancers seen.

So what do we do?

I like the Grecian golden mean. Enjoy your stir fried noodles with tofu. The dose of phytoestrogens in a normal serving size will be tiny. I do not think huge doses of isoflavones has any role in health so I do not recommend taking pharmacological doses of it. I do not think there is any evidence that it is related to ovarian cancer.

best wishes
2 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I also read a couple of articles about Soy vs certain cancers and was always curious to know the fact. I've been drinking soy milk for years ('cause I don't drink regular milk)I was a healthy person,always fit and on diet. On June of 2006 on my regular GYN check up I have been diagnosed with Endometrial C(lining of the uterus) stage 1. I am in my thirty never been married and I was devastated and I don't even have an answer of how it happened. Two month ago had a surgery done. I 've been taking HRT for 1 month it is not helping (don't like it)I still 've hot flashes daily. My question is 1) Is it ok to drink Soy milk while being in HRT and Soy milk vs breast cancer. I drink Soy Milk daily and I am consused and worried.
2) Is there any natural estrogen replacement 'cause I don't like the side effects from HRT. After I read the side effects of HRT,I don't feel confertable taking it and I prefer natural. Need help please. S
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