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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Is eating soy products linked to cervical cancer?

I am a 54 year old woman who had cervical cancer back in 1987 when I had my hysterectomy. I still have both ovaries, but was also told that I shouldn't take estrogen due to the fact that I've had cancer in the past.

I love soy products and I was wondering if there is a limit to how much I should intake before it can cause a medical problem, if any.

Dr. Gourmet Says...


I have searched the literature and have not found any conclusive research that links consumption of soy products with cervical cancer. For some time it was felt that there might be a link between soy consumption and breast cancer. The most recent evidence says that this is not the case, and that soy products don't promote breast cancer. Here are some links that explain that science:

Good Food News for Breast Cancer Survivors

Ask Dr. Gourmet: Is edamame (soybeans) bad for you since they contain estrogen?

Ask Dr. Gourmet: Should a breast cancer survivor avoid edamame (soybeans) once she is post-menopausal?

Ask Dr. Gourmet: Should a woman with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer avoid phytoestrogens?

It's hard to make a definitive statement about soy and cervical cancer right now, but more and more evidence says that the phytoestrogens in some soy products are not harmful.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet