DEC 13, 2017 05:50 AM PST
Broccoli & Soy Could Help Breast Cancer Patients in the Long Run
WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
3 4 361

Image credit: Pixabay.com

Chemotherapy is intended to be an aggressive attack on cancer, but all too often, the body also sustains major injuries from this treatment, even after the therapy has stopped. Now, one study finds that loading up on cruciferous vegetables may slash the long-term side effects of cancer treatment, at least for breast cancer.

Going through chemotherapy takes a toll on the body and the mind. For some women treated with chemo for breast cancer, the effects of chemo can reach as far as the brain. Only recently did researchers found real and quantifiable evidence of chemotherapy’s effects on the brain, which they dubbed “chemo brain.” In addition, other common long-term side effects of chemotherapy include early menopause and chronic fatigue.

"These symptoms can adversely impact survivors' quality of life and can lead them to stopping ongoing treatments," said Sarah Nomura, a researcher at the Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the study’s lead author.

Nomura’s team wondered if the benefits of cruciferous vegetables - previously linked to help prevent type 2 diabetes and mouth cancer - could also help reduce chemotherapy’s collateral damages in breast cancer patients.

The study followed 365 women who received primary treatment for their recent breast cancer diagnosis. Nomura’s team collected information information on the post-treatment symptoms reported by the women, as well as dietary information.

Correlating dietary intake to post-chemotherapy symptoms, the team found women who consumed more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, garden cress) and soy foods (tofu, soy milk, edamame), were less likely to experience early menopause and fatigue.

"In this population of breast cancer survivors, higher soy and cruciferous vegetable intake was associated with less treatment-related menopausal symptoms and fatigue,” the authors concluded.

The idea that cruciferous vegetables may hold anticancer benefits is not a new one. Scientists have long known that vegetables like broccoli are high in an antioxidant compound known as sulforaphane. As an antioxidant, sulforaphane inhibits the oxidation of molecules, thereby buffering cells against damages brought on by carcinogens.

As for soy, these foods are high in isoflavones, which can mimic the effects of estrogen to mitigate menopausal symptoms.

Nevertheless, it’s important to note the authors derived their conclusions mainly from telephone surveys with patients, which may be more subject to biases. Thus, these conclusion are better served as a point for further investigation.

Additional sources: MNT

About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
MAR 20, 2018
Cancer
MAR 20, 2018
You better not get a viral infection if you have cancer!
Cancer induced reduction in antiviral immune response
APR 24, 2018
Microbiology
APR 24, 2018
Drinkers Have More Harmful Mouth Bacteria
A new study has found that drinkers carry more disease-linked-bacteria than non-drinkers.
APR 30, 2018
Infographics
APR 30, 2018
Testicular Cancer Awareness Month - What Do You Know About Testicular Cancer?
In honor of Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, men's underwear brand Tommy John has partnered with the Testicular Cancer Foundation to help those direc
MAY 08, 2018
Cancer
MAY 08, 2018
Adjusting Pricing Model for Novel Cancer Treatments
Indicator-based pricing is a new model being used for cancer drugs for different diseases in an effort to create a more sustainable way to contain the costs of treating cancer.
JUN 07, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
JUN 07, 2018
Digital Screening Vital for Detecting Breast Cancer
A combination of two digital techniques could be the best way to diagnose breast cancer. In a new study, scientists show how combining a technique called t
JUN 26, 2018
Cancer
JUN 26, 2018
Genomic Markers Identified for Infant Soft Tissue Tumors
A new article from Nature Communications published on June 18, 2018 now outlines a newly discovered connection between infant soft tissue tumors and the mutations involving EGFR and BRAF gene
Loading Comments...