Does dairy impact risk of cancer?

Dr Frank Lipman
Dec 16, 2022

Does the amount of milk men drink increase their risk of prostate cancer? Researchers from Loma Linda University investigated the possible link.

Study Summary

The study, which relied on nutritional data from 28,737 North American men, found that:

  • Those with a higher intake of dairy had a heightened risk for prostate cancer.
  • Those with a high non-dairy calcium intake did not have a higher risk for prostate cancer.
  • Individuals with a daily dairy consumption of ~1 ¾ cup of milk had a 25% higher risk of prostate cancer than those who consumed ~½ cup of milk weekly.

Dietary data was assessed using tools based on participant recall which is not always accurate.

The Hearty Take

Dairy products may increase the risk of prostate cancer because of their sex hormone content and potential to increase IGF-1, a hormone which has been implicated in the development of prostate cancer. Calcium-rich dairy alternatives (with minimal processing and ingredients) do not seem to pose the same risk. Dairy consumption can be difficult to understand without the help of your health care team. In some cases dairy looks to be helpful. For example, dairy may offer protection from diabetes but in other cases, such as this research, dairy could potentially be detrimental. Reach out to Hearty for help with your own nutrition!

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