Soy has been recognized in many scientific population studies as a viable food option to reduce the risks of breast and prostate cancer. However, a recent study by the pathology department at the University of Illinois suggests that the miracle food cannot prevent prostate cancer from returning, even after the gland has been surgically removed.
While the study is considered small, lead researcher Dr. Maarten Bosland said that the results show that soy supplements are not the absolute cure. “A lot of men think that soy might be beneficial, but this study shows that it’s not,” Bosland said in a news release. The good thing, though, is that soy does not have any negative effects on the body.
Procedures like radical prostatectomy cannot totally remove the cancer cells, and therefore the risk of prostate cancer returning is still high. Bosland said that taking soy does not reduce the risks.
Dr. Anthony D’Amico, who heads the Brigham and Women’s Hospital radiation oncology department, undermines the results of the study. “It raises a question whether soy might have been helpful and it was missed because it was such a small study,” he said. However, Bosland said that increasing the scope of the study would yield similar results. He stated further that the impact of increasing the study group “would be so small as to be totally insignificant — clinically irrelevant.”
The study involved more than 150 male patients who underwent prostate removal surgery within a four-month period. The patients were assigned to take either one of two options: a soy protein drink, or a placebo liquid. In the end, the study was concluded after discovering that the risks of recurring cancer was similar in both study groups.
The popularity of soy as a cancer fighter stemmed from the fact that Asians — who eat high amounts of soy during their lifetime — have lower risks of cancer than those residing in the US.