The American Cancer Society recently released the results of a new study on diet and exercise and the effect it can have on cancer recurrence. Read more about the newest guidelines for cancer survivors here.
For me, one of the most interesting points was mentioned in the Q&A section:
Should cancer survivors include soy-based foods in their diet?
Soy foods are an excellent source of protein and can be a good option for meals without meat. Soy contains many phytochemicals, some of which have weak estrogen activity and seem to protect against hormone-dependent cancers in animal studies. Other compounds in soy have antioxidant properties and may have anticancer effects.
There’s a great deal of interest in the possible role of soy foods in reducing cancer risk, especially breast cancer risk. But the evidence at this time is mixed.
For the breast cancer survivor, current research finds no harmful effects from eating soy foods. These foods may even help tamoxifen work better. There is less known about the effects of soy supplements.
My oncologist told me that I should avoid soy within reason, as it may increase estrogen production. This new information certainly opposes that advice. It forces me to question how much is really known about the link between food and cancer. It does make sense to maintain a healthy weight and exercise, whether you are a cancer survivor or not.
However, with all the talk about antioxidents and superfoods like blueberries, green tea and quinoa, I do question whether future studies and research will yield different nutrition advice for preventing cancer. For now, I will stick with what makes sense to me – a diet high in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat and processed foods.