Are Soy Foods Safe for Breast Cancer Patients?

The SIO Research Committee is pleased to offer this second installment in a new blog series known as "Myths of Cancer". In this series we will address some of the most common myths and misperceptions that arise around cancer risk and treatment related to diet and natural health products, as well as other complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation. If you have a question you'd like us to address or comments about this post, please send your suggestions to: info@integrativeonc.org.

We hope you enjoy the series!
Linda Carlson and Eugene Ahn, Research Co-Chairs.

Written by Omer Kucuk, MD

Omer Kucuk, MD is a Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine/Winship Cancer Institute. He is a veteran member of SIO and has a primary research focus on nutrition and cancer, conducting preclinical and clinical studies with soy isoflavones, lycopene and other nutritional and botanical compounds for over 20 years. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the author's own, and not necessarily those of the Society of Integrative Oncology or Emory University School of Medicine. The SIO supports open dialogue between health care practitioners and patients to make sure patients can make informed decisions. As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.


Many women with breast cancer have been told to avoid soy foods. This warning is based on the assumption that plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) found in soybeans could be harmful. The assumption is that soy food sources of estrogens might somehow “feed” cancer cells and act in opposition to anti-estrogen medications like tamoxifen, thereby increasing breast cancer risk.

 

Quick Answer Box

The safety and health benefits of soy foods are well established and it is probably safe for women with breast cancer to consume soy foods. However, greater caution is advised regarding use of soy derived isoflavone supplements such as genistein. 

Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

The SIO Research Committee is pleased to offer this first installment in a new blog series known as "Myths of Cancer". In this series we will address some of the most common myths and misperceptions that arise around cancer risk and treatment related to diet and natural health products, as well as other complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation. If you have a question you'd like us to address or comments about this post, please send your suggestions to: info@integrtiveonc.org

We hope you enjoy the series!
Linda Carlson and Eugene Ahn, Research  Co-Chairs. 

Co-written by Eugene Ahn, MD and Kristen Trukova, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, CSO
© 2016 Rising Tide

Eugene Ahn, MD is the medical director of clinical research and medical oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern), and Kristen Trukova, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, CSO is a clinical oncology dietitian at CTCA® at Midwestern. They are both SIO members and have a passion for education and keeping their communities up to speed on the latest in scientific research. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own, and not necessarily those of the Society of Integrative Oncology or Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The SIO and CTCA supports open dialogue between health care practitioners and patients to make sure patients can make informed decisions. As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

There are so many questions we get from patients in our clinics that are provocative but lack simple answers, and today we tackle one of the most common questions: “Does sugar feed cancer?” To condense the topic into a blog entry, we will not address specifically a ketogenic diet (low carbohydrate and protein, high fat, caloric restriction and fasting diet), but will save that for another blog, so stay tuned!

Quick Answer Box

It’s complicated. But one should feel comfortable taking in sugars through fruits and vegetables due to their higher nutritional value and content that goes with the sugars. Some cancers might become more resistant to treatment with high sugar intake, but the science of predicting which cancers would benefit from a low sugar diet is too early in its infancy to make any general recommendations.