Alcohol, Soy, Dietary Supplements, and Cancer Risk

VIDEO | 08:00

Clinical nutritionist Cara Anselmo of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center says that high levels of alcohol consumption have been associated with oral, esophageal, larynx, and breast cancers. However, drinking alcohol in moderation — one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men — is safe for cancer survivors.

Studies suggest that eating a moderate amount of soy, which contains a substance called phytoestrogen, may reduce the risk and recurrence of breast cancer and other hormone-sensitive cancers. Anselmo recommends eating a moderate amount of foods that contain soy such as tofu, edamame, or flax seeds, instead of taking soy supplements.

There is no evidence that taking dietary supplements can reduce a person’s risk of cancer. Detailed information about the potential benefits and risks of many supplements can be found on Memorial Sloan Kettering’s About Herbs website. Anselmo says survivors should opt for whole-food sources of nutrients instead of supplements whenever possible.