By Fran SmithWhy even smart doctors miss breast cancer - and how to make sure you're getting the best care.
No matter what you know about other diseases, breast cancer is probably the one that scares you most. It is frightening, striking nearly 182,000 women this year and plunging them into a world of complicated, arduous treatment. So it's heartening to know that more women are being diagnosed early, when the odds of beating the cancer are as high as 98 percent. Prevention and treatment are becoming...
“I drank about three-quarters of a cup of soy milk in my coffee twice a day and ate tofu and edamame [soy beans] pretty regularly,” the 44-year-old tells WebMD. “I was also probably getting quite a bit of soy in the meat-substitute products I was eating.”
When she asked her oncologist about it, he advised her to cut way back on the soy foods, saying the jury was still out on its safety for women with a history of breast cancer.
“His thinking was that a little was probably safe, but he said some other oncologists on the staff told their patients to avoid soy completely,” she says.
Is soy safe or even beneficial for women who have had breast cancer and women who might get it? Or is the jury still out, as Mukai’s doctor told her, on soy's role in breast cancer or other cancers?
Experts who spoke to WebMD agreed on some points and disagreed on others, including whether recent research has cleared the air or muddied the waters with regard to soy and breastcancer.
Soy Foods Probably Safe
Once found only in health food stores and Asian markets, soy is now a fixture in the American diet, even among people who have never tried tofu, tempeh, or miso soup.
A cheap source of protein, soy is used in the manufacture of a wide range of highly processed foods, including breads, cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, soy ‘milk’, non-dairy creamers, imitation cheeses, and even some yogurts.
The experts and researchers interviewed by WebMD say that breastcancer survivors probably have little to fear from eating soy foods in moderation.
The studies have not found these compounds to be very helpful in terms of reducing hot flashes,” Dana Farber Cancer Center oncologist Wendy Chen, MD, tells WebMD. “And they have not been studied in women with breast cancer, so the risk is not known.”