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SOY AS BREAST CANCER PREVENTION COMPONENT: SIDE EFFECTS

Just as the popularity of soy is reaching an all-time high, several researchers have warned that genistein is still a weak estrogen and that any estrogen could cause cell growth. One experiment looked at the growth of breast cells in a test tube. With no other estrogens, genistein could cause these cells to grow. As yet unpublished studies looking at fluid expressed from the nipples of women who took soy also show signs of breast cell growth. This does not mean that there is any risk of cancer with soy. To the contrary, thousands of years of use by billions of women shows exactly the opposite, a striking decrease in cancer. This research, however, makes many researchers reluctant to recommend soy until more is known. My own feeling is that soy is a good estrogen blocker for women who produce large amounts of estrogen. For postmenopausal women who produce low amounts of estrogen, the question is whether the introduction of even a weak estrogen will stimulate cell growth. For these women, there is less need for soy and so less need to recommend it. This is clearly an issue you'll want to follow closely in the news and discuss with your doctor.

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