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Soy may limit cancer spread

Posted - Sep. 24, 2004 at 4:40 p.m.



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BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Sep 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A researcher at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland has found that a diet high in soy may keep breast cancer from spreading.

Pamela Magee of the School of Biomedical Sciences says that the effect comes from the high concentration of isoflavones in soybeans and foods derived from them. Isoflavones are naturally occurring enzymes and Magee has found that they slow or halt invasive cancer cells.

One result of this effect is that women in eastern Asia have a far lower rate of death from breast cancer than European women, Magee said.

"Although recent advances have been made in tumour detection and treatment, the spread of cancer remains a significant cause of mortality," Magee said. "The invasion of cancerous cells from their site of origin into the neighboring environment enables cancerous cells to travel and grow at new sites within the body. Any agent, therefore, which can prevent the invasive process could become a powerful tool in the prevention of cancer spread."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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