- A recent study suggests that men who consume large quantities of milk may have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who consumed about 1¾ cups of milk per day had a 27% higher likelihood of developing the disease than those who consumed less.
- Despite these findings, it’s still uncertain whether milk consumption directly contributes to prostate cancer. However, it has been suggested that dairy consumption can boost the levels of “Insulin-like growth factor-1”, a hormone that plays a role in breast and prostate cancers.
- Non-dairy milk substitutes such as soy, almond, oat, and cashew milk were not found to increase the risk of prostate cancer in this study.
- The study involved a survey of over 28,700 men, none of whom had prostate cancer at the study’s start, but 1,254 of whom developed the disease over an eight-year follow-up period.
- Other clear risk factors for aggressive prostate cancer include obesity, excessive caloric consumption, and lack of exercise. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are essential for prevention.
Finding ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle is always a priority, especially in avoiding common deadly diseases such as prostate cancer. A new study suggests that men who consume large quantities of milk may be more susceptible to prostate cancer compared to those who don’t.
Study Findings on Milk Consumption and Prostate Cancer
A recent study disclosed that men who indulge in about 1¾ cups of milk daily were approximately 27% more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to men who consume only 1 or 2 teaspoons of milk every day. Moreover, the likelihood of developing prostate cancer was found to increase by about 60% for men avoiding dairy products entirely.
While the study doesn’t establish how or if milk consumption heightens the risk for prostate cancer, scientists have come up with a few hypotheses.
The Role of Hormones in Prostate Cancer
Dr. Gary Fraser, the study’s author, highlighted “Insulin-like growth factor-1” – a hormone known to be a risk factor for breast and prostate cancer. Dairy consumption apparently boosts the level of this hormone, and prostate cancer’s growth is dependent on hormones. Moreover, cow’s milk contains other hormones as well.
Despite these findings, Dr. Fraser asserted that it’s too precipitate to conclude that there is an actual causal link between milk consumption and the development of prostate cancer. However, he seemed to hint at a possible connection, particularly for those with a significant family history of prostate cancer. Dr. Fraser recommended opting for a plant-based diet.
Alternatives to cow’s milk, such as soy, almond, oat, cashew, and other non-dairy milks, were not found to increase prostate cancer risk in this study.
The Study’s Process and Findings
The research team surveyed more than 28,700 men about their diet habits, asking some to recall all the food and drinks they consumed in the previous 24 hours. None of these participants had prostate cancer at the study’s inception, but 1,254 of them developed the disease during the eight-year follow-up period.
The researchers discovered that milk consumption elevated the risk of all prostate cancer types, including aggressive forms. They found a direct correlation with the increased risk and the consumption of low or regular fat milk, but not yogurt or cheese, and that this risk leveled off after consuming roughly two-thirds of a cup of milk each day.
Limited Certainty: Call for More Research
However, experts in the field are hesitant to declare unequivocally that milk consumption increases the risk of prostate cancer. According to Dr. Otis Brawley, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor of oncology, “It’s too early to draw that conclusion.”
Lifestyle Factors Impacting Prostate Cancer Risk
While the direct effect of dairy on prostate cancer remains uncertain, other factors are more clear-cut. It’s well-documented that obesity, excessive caloric consumption, and lack of exercise increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Dr. Brawley and other cancer specialists like Dr. Andrew Laccetti from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Montvale, N.J., agree that a balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are essential in prostate cancer prevention.
Understand more about prostate cancer risk factors from the American Cancer Society.