Research on flaxseed?


Question from Jan: A few years ago there was some encouraging research about the effect of flaxseed on breast cancer. Has any further research been done or conclusions drawn?
Answers - Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. Flaxseed is a phytoestrogen, a substance derived from a plant which has estrogen-like properties. Whether or not these agents have any effect on the growth of breast cancer cells -- either to promote the growth or inhibit the growth of these cells -- is somewhat unclear. It is very difficult to do research in this area and to actually measure the biological effects of these dietary supplements or products. As far as I know, there is no new data from this new meeting regarding the dietary intake of phytoestrogen. In general, most medical oncologists recommend that patients avoid large-dose supplementations with phytoestrogen; however, small doses or small amounts taken in the diet are probably safe.
Carol Kaplan I agree with that, and we also often caution patients about taking high doses of other plant estrogens, such as black cohosh and soy. We often advise patients with questions about this to run their supplement list by a clinic nutritionist in order to identify supplements that they may be unaware are plant estrogens.

On Wednesday, December 17, 2008, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer SymposiumRuth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Carol Kaplan, M.D. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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