Soy Products After Breast Cancer

Last Modified: March 25, 2010

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Do you reccomend that women with active breast cancer stay away from soy products (not whole soy foods)?


Karen Wagner MS, RD, LDN, Clinical dietitian specialist for the Abramson Cancer Center, responds:

The issue of soy during treatment for breast cancer is certainly confusing and we don't have all the information yet. At this time, the American Cancer Society and American Institute for Cancer Research have issued guidelines that say that about 2 servings of whole soy foods, one serving is equal to 3 ounces of tofu or tempeh, or 1/2 cup of soybeans, is safe. To my knowledge these recommendations do not differ for people during of after treatment. I will say that if soy foods have not really been a part of your diet, there would be no reason to start adding them during treatment.

We do not recommend soy protein powders, or products with soy protein isolate. There are also many products that contain soy, soy oil, soy sauce, or soy lecithin, all of which are safe at any time during treatment.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series, Exercise, Nutrition and Cancer Webchat. View the entire transcript here.

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