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I’ve read that pregnancy can accelerate the growth of meningiomas. Does that mean that all hormones can affect tumor growth? Would soy products or other food-based hormones affect the growth of these benign brain tumors? I’ll be heading into menopause, and wonder if herbal treatments like black cohosh or other natural HRT supplements would cause regrowth of my brain tumor?

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There are some foods that contain substances called isoflavones and lignans that get converted to an estrogen like substance through the digestive process. These are referred to as “phytoestrogens” or plant estrogens because they have a very weak estrogenic effect and are structurally somewhat similar to estrogen. These phytoestrogens are now believed to be protective against estrogen sensitive cancers and are considered to be safe if eaten in moderate amounts up to three servings per day in the form of soy foods or flaxseed. Black cohosh has been shown, in some studies to be helpful in reducing menopausal symptoms but does not contain these phytoestrogens. The mechanism of action is still poorly understood.