Nutrition and Cancer Prevention

Volume 492 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 1-10

Soybeans and Cancer Prevention: A Complex Food and a Complex Disease

  • Diane F. BirtAffiliated withDepartment of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition 2312 Food Sciences Building, Iowa State University

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There is a human tendency to simplify complex and chaotic relationships so that we can better communicate information. This is certainly true with public health information. In considering soybeans and cancer prevention, this has resulted in attempts to translate the associations between dietary intake and disease as being due to single compounds, and the influences of complex biological processes as being through single or simple mechanisms. We anticipate that the series of three papers on the impact of soybeans on cancer will demonstrate the complexity of the soybean and the complexity of the impact of soybeans and constituents from soybeans on carcinogenesis. The first of these three papers will provide a foundation for considering the complexity of soybeans and the complexity of the cancer process in attempting to understand and to optimize strategies for the use of dietary soybeans or soybean constituents in the prevention of human cancer.