Soy and Wine After Breast Cancer

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania?
Last Modified: November 4, 2010


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I am so confused when reading about soy and if this should be avoided when being treated for breast cancer. Also- is an occasional glass of wine ok? So many conflicting points of view in my reading!


Karen Wagner, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Update on soy and breast cancer: Recently more evidence has come out that whole soy foods, such as tofu, soy beans, soy milk and tempeh are safe foods to eat, even for women with hormone positive tumors. The guidelines of the American Cancer Society and American Institute for Cancer Research 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. They still do not recommend soy protein powders, or products with soy protein isolate. Products that have soy oil, soy sauce, or soy lecithin, are also considered safe. These products are also considered safe for women without hormone sensitive cancers.

Unfortunately, the information on any alcohol, including wine seems to be that it is best to minimize any alcohol consumption. If by occasional glass of wine, you mean 1-2 drinks per month, that might be okay, but the general recommendation is to try to avoid alcohol, including wine to minimize the risk of breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence.

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