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Nutrition in Cancer Care (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 06/24/2014

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Nutrition in Cancer Prevention



Following certain dietary guidelines may help prevent cancer.

The American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research both have dietary guidelines that may help prevent cancer. Their guidelines are a lot alike and include the following:

  • Eat a plant-based diet with a large variety of fruits and vegetables.

  • Eat foods low in fat.

  • Eat foods low in salt.

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.

  • Be active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.

  • Drink few alcoholic drinks or don't drink at all.

  • Prepare and store food safely.

  • Do not use tobacco in any form.

The effect of soy on breast cancer and breast cancer prevention is being studied.

Study results include the following:

  • Some studies show that eating soy may decrease the risk of having breast cancer.
  • Taking soy supplements in the form of powders or pills has not been shown to prevent breast cancer.
  • Adding soy foods to the diet after being diagnosed with breast cancer has not been shown to keep the breast cancer from coming back.

Soy has substances in it that act like estrogen in the body. Studies were done to find out how soy affects breast cancer in patients who have tumors that need estrogen to grow. Some studies have shown that soy foods are safe for women with breast cancer when eaten in moderate amounts as part of a healthy diet.

If you are a breast cancer survivor be sure to check the most up-to-date information when deciding whether to include soy in your diet.