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Northwestern Researchers Investigate Soy in Breast Cancer Prevention Study

December 5, 2006 | by Marla Paul

CHICAGO --- Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine are recruiting eligible women to participate in a study investigating what role soy isoflavones may play in reducing a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

The research study is under the leadership of Seema Khan, M.D., professor of surgery at the Feinberg School, researcher at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and a surgical oncologist at the Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Currently, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. While early detection and better treatments are helping women fight breast cancer, research into ways to prevent breast cancer before it develops is crucial. Evidence suggests that a daily soy supplement may be a promising way to reduce breast cancer risk. 

Women living in cultures with high amounts of soy in their diets develop breast cancer less frequently. Also, laboratory studies show that soy causes death of breast cancer cells and slows down the growth of breast cells. Breast cancer develops less often when breast cells are growing slower. Northwestern's research study is investigating whether a daily pill containing isoflavones from soy can cause a woman's breast cells to grow more slowly, thereby lowering her risk of breast cancer.

Eligible women include those ages 25-55 who are at increased risk for breast cancer. A woman may be at increased risk for breast cancer if she has had a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer, has had breast cancer herself in the past or has other risk factors. To receive a free risk assessment and to find out if they are eligible to participate, women can call research nurse Nancy Michel, RN, BSN at (312) 695-4772 or e-mail soy@northwestern.edu.  More information is also available at www.soystudy.org.

This study is conducted by the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in conjunction with Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Bluhm Family Breast Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program. It is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

Topics: Research