Low-Fat Dairy Products May Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer

The data from a long-term study has indicated a possible link between the consumption of dairy products, including whole and skim milk, cheese and ice-cream, to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Prostat cancer is a major causes of mortality among men around the world.

It is not clear from these studies whether increase in the risk of prostate cancer associated with higher intake of dairy products.

Data from several prospective studies have supported an association, but many other studies have failed to establish a link.

To explore this topic further, Scientists, led by Dr. Song-Yi Park, from the Cancer Epidemiology Program, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii at the Honolulu-based University of Hawaii, examined data from subjects enrolled in the Multiethnic Cohort Study. This study, conducted between 1993 and 2002, included adults between 45 and 75 years old, were primarily from five different ethnic or racial groups, and lived in California or Hawaii.

A total of 82,483 men from the study completed a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and various factors, such as weight, smoking status, and education levels were also noted, Park’s group said.

During an average follow-up period of 8 years, 4,404 men developed prostate cancer. There was no evidence that dairy products increased the risk of prostate cancer. This held true across all racial and ethnic groups.

In an overall analysis of food groups, the consumption of dairy products and milk were not associated with prostate cancer risk, the research found. Further analysis, however, suggested that low-fat or nonfat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors or non-aggressive tumors, while whole milk decreased this risk.

In a similar first study, Dr. Yikyung Park, from the National Cancer Institute at National Institutes (NIH) of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues investigated the relationship of dairy products and prostate cancer in 293,888 men enrolled in the NIH-American Association of Retired Persons Diet and Health Study, conducted between 1995 and 2001. The average follow-up period was 6 years.

The studies found that 12 percent DECREASE in the risk of developing prostate cancer for those who drank whole milk. Conversely, there was a 16 percent INCREASE in the risk of developing prostate cancer for those who drank 2% skim milk.