Can Soy Products Lead to Breast Cancer?

May 2018 Breast

Contributed by: Dr Watt Wing Fong

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Soy food products are common in the Singaporean diet. From the popular soya beancurd dessert, also known as “tau huay” to tofu used in the making of Chinese cuisine, most of us consume soy products regularly, or if not, at least at one point in our lives.

Soya beans contain isoflavones (a type of phyto-estrogens meaning estrogens found in plants). Estrogen is a female hormone that has an impact on the physiological attributes of a woman. Yellow soya beans in particular, contain a higher level of isoflavone, and is also most frequently found in our food products like soymilk and soya beancurd.

But can regular consumption of soy products lead to breast cancer?

In normal healthy individuals, consuming soy products moderately i.e. 2-3 servings daily, does not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer. However, for women diagnosed with breast cancer, soy products may stimulate the growth or proliferation of existing cancer cells. Hence it would be better to avoid soy food products in such cases.

Current studies do show conflicting results on the impact of soy on breast cancer risk though. In fact, according to some studies, high levels of isoflavone may protect against breast cancer.

Soy-bean-breast-cancerDoes taking more soy food products help to enlarge my breast?

It’s a common myth to hear that consuming soy products can help to increase the size of one’s breast, be it in males or females. Unfortunately for the ladies, and fortunately for the men, that is not true.

The amount of soy that we consume in our diet does not have an impact on our chest size. However, soy is a good source of nutrient because it is high in protein and calcium, which makes it a healthy food choice across all ages and gender. To cap it off, as with all things and all food, moderation is key. Consume soy in moderation and enjoy the nutritional benefits that it brings to your body.


About Author
Dr Watt Wing Fong has a strong passion for the care of pregnant patients, and is experienced in the management of medical disorders in pregnancy and peripartum care. Her love for obstetrics stretches into her previous involvement in the development of guidelines and protocols for labour wards, as well as the training of labour ward nurses. She also shares her knowledge about pregnancy care to the general public through talks, forums and media engagements.


Dr Watt’s Place of Practice

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