Soy comes from soybeans. The beans can be processed into soy protein, which is a powder; soymilk, which is a beverage that may or may not be fortified with extra calcium from the soybeans; or soy fiber, which contains some of the fibrous parts of the bean. Soy is taken by mouth for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
It can be confusing to know what to eat to lower your risk of breast cancer. Research is mixed, for example, on whether women should avoid soy foods, such as tofu and soybeans, or try to eat more of them. The question is even trickier for women who already have breast cancer.
Soybeans are the most widely used, least expensive, and least caloric way to get large amounts of protein. You can eat soybeans in many forms, including tofu, the beans themselves also called edamamesoy milk, miso, and soy powder. Soy foods have a lot of isoflavones, which are weak estrogen-like compounds found in plants.
Medically reviewed by Wendy Y. Is there a link between soy and an increased risk of breast cancer? While laboratory studies on soy compounds in isolation have sparked questions about a possible connection, studies of breast cancer patients in China and Japan have not shown any increased breast cancer risk resulting from soy consumption. There is a biological basis for this line of inquiry.
Is it dangerous? Some of the misunderstandings come from the fact that studies in people and studies in animals may show different results. In some animal studies, rodents that were exposed to high doses of compounds found in soy called isoflavones showed an increased risk of breast cancer.
Find information and resources for current and returning patients. Learn about clinical trials at MD Anderson and search our database for open studies. The Lyda Hill Cancer Prevention Center provides cancer risk assessment, screening and diagnostic services.
Studies show that a lifelong diet rich in soy foods reduces the risk of breast cancer in women. This protective effect is less dramatic for women who eat less soy or who start eating soy later in life. Soy contains protein, isoflavones and fiber, all of which provide health benefits.
CNN Tofu or snafu? Soy has become a big component of a plant-based diet, but debates have raged for decades over whether soy really produces certain health benefits. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.
The question of whether soya foods are safe for women with breast cancer is one we are often asked here. It is certainly a question that comes up at every Younger Women Together event. The reason for concerns about their safety is that soya pictured here in its natural state contains isoflavones.