Soy v milk??

I’m sure that this has been discussed loads of times, but I suppose nearly 4 weeks into this I’m reading all I can to stay healthy and to make sure I blitz this thing into oblivion!! But there are so many different views on the milk / soy milk debate when it comes to BC that I don’t know what to believe!!! Any views or ideas to help???
Thanks a million
N xx

Hi Neadi

Whilst you await replies you may find the BCC publication ‘Diet and breast cancer’ useful to read as it contains information about diet during or after treatment, including a section about dairy-free diets.\_09LP.pdf

Best wishes


I don’t know anything of the merits of cows milk v soya re BC…what I can tell you is that as near to milk as it is…soya is a totally different product…my grandson is lactose intolerant and we have to give him soya…but it tastes totally different to milk…it’s hard to cook with it and it’s much higher in calories than milk…once opened it must be refridgerated…it’s v good for you but I’d rather take my chances with a carton of semi skimmed!!!’s not nice on your cereal either…

I was brought up on a dairy farm in the 60’s and always drank lots of unpasturised milk and based on this I suppose along with other factors(no children, early periods) it was always on the cards that I might get breast cancer, although I was 46 when I was diagnosed. Have I stopped having milk? No but I don’t go mad on it either. I do use oatmilk on my cereal and it is lovely, especially on porrage with honey and banana. But I have custard made with milk occasionally, milk in my tea/coffee but not a lot. We can really get hung up with our diet and my Onc and other medics have said eat a varied diet, and take exercise.
There are many alternatives to milk, its just finding the one you like but I haven’t tried any of them to cook with. Soya wasn’t very good in coffee, then as I was ER+ I thought that maybe I shouldn’t have it anyway.

I’m avoiding both and having oatmilk on my cereal.

I was at the BCC Younger Womens forum in June and a nutritionist came in to speak to us, she advised that there are a lots of theories and myths surrounding breast cancer and diet and dairy is one of them, she said of all the studies done into this the only credible ones found that dairy can actually be a benefit, not the other way round. To be honest I don’t understand why people think that dairy is bad, maybe someone can enlighten me? She also said, as we all know, there is absolutely no evidence around diet and cancer, only to reduce the amount of meat and processed food we eat and to increase pulses, seeds, nuts, fruit and veg - what we all know already I guess.

Milk contains female hormone (oestrogen) regardless of whether the cows are organic or given extra hormones or not. It is a naturally occuring chemical in female animals, particularly lactating ones. But natural doesn’t always mean safe. Cows milked in late stage pregnancy have particularly high levels. If you have a non-hormone dependendent cancer then this obviously isn’t an issue. However, I don’t see the point in putting hormone blockers in my system on the one hand then increasing my intake of the same hormones on the other. Eating a lot of high-fat dairy is also likely to increase bodyfat ratio and more fat leads to higher oestrogen production.

I’d also add that the term ‘nutritionist’ is not a protected term. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Dietician is the protected term.

Here is a summary of research that gives some scientific basis to the desire to avoid exposure to oestrogen and oestrogen-mimicks such as soya. Whether a change in diet is adequate to make a real difference in terms of overall lifetime exposure is difficult to argue. Some of the damage may have already been done in utero etc. Other exposures exist beyond diet and these may be more significant.\_Scientific\_Statement.pdf

_In summary, exposure to estrogens throughout a woman’s life, including the period of intrauterine development, is a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. The increased incidence of breast cancer noted during the last 50 yr may have been caused, in part, by exposure of women to estrogen-mimicking chemicals that have been released into the environment from industrial and commercial sources. Epidemiological studies suggest that exposure to xenoestrogens such as DES during fetal development, to DDT around puberty, and to a mixture of xenoestrogens around menopause increases this risk. Animal studies show that exposure in utero to the xenoestrogen BPA increases this risk. Moreover, these animal studies suggest that estrogens act as morphogens and that excessive perinatal exposure results in structural and functional alterations that are further exacerbated by exposure to ovarian steroids at puberty and beyond. These altered structures include preneoplastic lesions, such as intraductal hyperplasias, and carcinomas in situ. Additionally, these mammary glands are more vulnerable than their normal counterparts to carcinogenic stimuli. Exposures to other endocrine disruptors that are not estrogenic, such as dioxins, were reported to increase breast cancer incidence in humans and to alter mammary gland development in animal models. Collectively, these data support the notion that endocrine disruptors alter mammary gland morphogenesis and that the resulting dysgenic gland becomes more prone to neoplastic development. _

Well regardless of whether she’s a nutritionist or dietician, I can’t remember that sort of detail, I do however know that she works for the NHS and BCC would not use her if she didn’t know what she was talking about and trustworthy. I’ll message the mods to see if they can provide a name. All I’m saying is go with the evidence, rather than the myth, also for every study like the one you posted that suggests a link, there will be another one that says the opposite, i’ll see if I can find the studies that were spoken about at the forum. When I asked my onc about dairy she said I should eat a normal healthy diet and not to avoid any food group.

Ok so have I got to avoid both milk and soya?? Confusing stuff!! Thanks s million for all the input!! These forums have been so helpful and informative!!!
N xx

Ok so have I got to avoid both milk and soya?? Confusing stuff!! Thanks s million for all the input!! These forums have been so helpful and informative!!!
N xx

Hi Neadi
The diet issue is very emotive, I’ve got cancer diet books myself, I think we want to think there is a way we can control BC but in reality we can’t by diet. All the experts agree that a healthy balanced diet is best without avoiding any food groups and unless there is any concrete evidence to suggest otherwise then I personally think the healthy diet approach is the most sensible. If eating dairy caused cancer then how can you explain all the people who eat dairy who haven’t had cancer or all those who have had ER+ cancer but are vegan and who always have been vegan? Ultimately only you can decide what is best for you - good luck, it’s a minefield

Well they do say everything in moderation!!! Mind you since ive been diagnosed my intake of fizzy drinks has decreased dramatically!!!

I was having the same discussion with my onc today. Since giving up dairy my blood calcium levels are now low and I’m taking a calcium supplement. My view on milk products is that there are some compelling arguments abouts the links particulary in ER positive bc. I think its only one factor though.
My onc isn’t convinced but did say that lifetime exposure may be a factor (similar to the research quoted by keyfeatures). Ultimately no one knows for sure and I’m sure the causes of cancer are dependent on many variables.

If you eat fish, tinned salmon is a great way to boost calcium levels. The softened, edible small bones in it are full of the stuff.

To be honest I’m not suprised my levels were low as my appetite is pretty poor anyway. I love tinned salmon and sardines so I’ll take your advice!

I agree with Chascat after going to the BCC Forum in Septemebr and listening to the same type of talk (I wonder if it was the same lady?) She was great and having been through treatment for BC herself she gave some advice from a dieticians perspective but some from her own. For example somebody asked her what she thought of sugar and sweetner. She said that there is very little difference between the 2 so in her professional opinion it shouldnt make a difference but in her personal view sweetner is processed so she would rather have sugar than sweetner. It really is a matter of personal opinion and you have to do what you feel is right for you.

Chascat, Thank You, what a breath of fresh air your post is! i get so frustrated with all the scaremongering and myths that are online these days , this Dairy BC myth thing has been banded about endlessly on the internet for yrs and i can never understand why as there is absolutely NO evidence whatsoever to prove that Dairy or Milk is bad for BC, (and god knows there has been endless studies about it over the yrs)
My advice (for whatever its worth) is always stick to the reptuable cancer organsations if you have any concerns and you wont go very far wrong, Thanks too Lucy for putting up BCCs info on diet, MacMillan ,CRUK and all the other cancer organisations also have good advice and up to date info on diet and BC .
Try not to worry to much Neadi, know its difficult sometimes as there is so much misinformation on the web regarding cancer that its difficult sometimes to deciefer whats correct and what isnt, but personaly for me id be far more worried about SOYA than Milk, most oncs dont recommend!
keyfeatures interesting study, but what always puzzles me with these things is that BC has been around since 3000 BC (first ever recorded case) so cant imagine there was many estrogen-mimicking chemicals from the environment or from industrial and commercial sources back then can you?.
Drives you potty all this stuff doesnt it lol .
Linda x

It sure does!!! Just read the diet sheet that BCC put up- it’s really good and will just make sure everything is done in moderation- with the odd treat- coz we’re with it!!!

It is quite clear that oncologists apart from the odd few have no idea about what interfers with tamoxifen and supplements that may or may not work. Diet is associated with every illness going, asthma etc. all activated or stopped by change in diet and dairy has a lot of influence on many disorders and taking it out of the diet for so many people like wheat solves many issues. I think it’s naive to presume that food does not effect chronic illness. There is little research into this as drug companies get nothing out of it, imagine if we could cure all illness theough specific targeting of food the drug companies would go bust! Ironically modern day medicine now recognises that the herbalists of the Middle Ages were actually on to something.
Tamoxifen is given to stop the cancer cells ataching to the hormones in your body. Doctors can’t stoop the body producing hormones but they can suppress it so therefore you can help the medication by avoiding dairy and ingesting extra hormones from animals. You can also help by removing chemical cleaning products and stop using perfum deodorants, make up etc that are full of chemicals that mimic hormones. With regards to soy it acts like tamoxifen and so there is some discussion about whether it then in fact tries to compete with tamoxifen and therefore makes it ineffective. Soy milk is not high grade soy so probably offers little protection as it is refined and processed. The soy that is found in miso soup is the one that apparently is the best product. With regards to the info that comes from NHS I wouldn’t put that much faith in it, one plan does not fit all. Obviously it is important to have food from all food groups but wise not to have red meat, alcohol dairy and sugar if you can avoid it. Much has been reported on acidity and cancer and the effect of sugar is said to provide an environment in the body where cancer flourishes. Maintaining an alkaline environment is hard work but apparently advantageous to helping to suppress the growth of cancer cells. Maybe this is all a load of rubbish but if it helps it is worth considering. Mac Millian had a coffee morning which was on at my last hospital appointment and loads of cakes baked for consumption sadly not by me cos I am a cancer patient and sugar is bad for me!