Beyond the “Gold Standard”: Diet, Cancer Prevention, and the Randomized Clinical Trial

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gold-barsLast week’s soy-breast cancer study out of China received a fair amount of press. But some of that coverage contained basic assumptions about the nature of cancer research that aren’t accurate.

Take this passage from Time.com:

…. the study was not a randomized clinical trial of soy consumption. That is, rather than randomly assigning breast-cancer survivors to consume or not consume various amounts of soy, then following those participants to see whether they developed recurrent tumors, the study looked retrospectively at women’s self-determined soy-eating habits.

So far so good.

But then came this next bit:

The randomized clinical trial is the gold standard upon which medical practice is determined, and the only kind of trial that gives scientists confidence that other variables are not confounding their results.

Yeah, that’s … not always true. Not when you’re studying something as complex as the human diet, and a disease that can take many years to develop, like cancer.

When it comes to studying diet, lifestyle and cancer prevention, the randomized clinical trial (RCT) is one tool investigators use, but it can’t – and shouldn’t – be considered the be-all and end-all, the “gold standard” in all situations.

After the jump:  The difference between studying cancer treatment and studying cancer prevention.

Read more… “Beyond the “Gold Standard”: Diet, Cancer Prevention, and the Randomized Clinical Trial”

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    AICR in PARADE Magazine

    By Posted on Leave a comment on AICR in PARADE Magazine

    Very pleain the newssed to see this story on our recently updated expert report in yesterday’s PARADE Magazine.

    Dr. Ranit Mishori‘s Stay Healthy column reminds readers that the recent controversy over mammograms should not distract women from the convincing evidence that diet, weight and physical activity make a big difference in lowering risk.

    Includes a nice quote from AICR Director of Research Susan Higginbotham, PhD, RD.

    A great way to start the week!

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      In the News: Should Breast Cancer Survivors Eat Soy?

      By Posted on Leave a comment on In the News: Should Breast Cancer Survivors Eat Soy?

      This week’s study of soy consumption and breast cancer survivors in China has gotten some attention.

      ftfc-200-soy

      Over on the AICR website, we bottom-line the study results, and provide some evidence-based, practical advice for women who have had, or who are high risk for, breast cancer.

      Note:  Soy is one of several much-studied foods featured on the Foods That Fight Cancer? section of the AICR website.

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