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Milk- Bad for breast cancer?

the daughter's picture
the daughter
Posts: 33
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi everyone,

As most of all of you- I read a lot... just about everything I can get my hands on about Breast Cancer. My mom was diagnosed in Jan. 2011.

Milk- there seems to be 2 school of thoughts. A few articles say dairy is not good for you and can increase breast canncer symtoms or diagnoses. A side effect of removing diary ofcourse is not having the proper nutririton.

I'm confused and the doctors seem to all have different opinions on it.

What does everyone think? Let go of dairy?

ladyg's picture
Posts: 1577
Joined: Apr 2010

any of my drs. tell me to eliminate dairy as a result of having BC.


Posts: 992
Joined: Sep 2009

first diagnosed 2 years ago. It was written by a female doctor who had advanced bc and put it into remission by cutting out dairy. If I had advanced bc, I would try it. I am stage 1 and have very little dairy. None of my doctors have told me to cut back on dairy. So confusing!


PinkPearl's picture
Posts: 280
Joined: Oct 2010

I still drink and use diary products but I do buy hormone free products especially for drinking. That generally means organic but you can find hormone free products that are not necessarily organic also. Dairy cattle are sometimes given hormones to increase their milk production and those are the hormones I want to avoid.

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

But..the article I read talked about the hormones in "non organic milk".. I have switched to Horizon organic milk...even though my bc is not estrogen receptive. And none of my doctors have ever said anything about cutting out dairy....also read quite a bit about organic foods...this article stated that "organic" doesn't always mean "the best"...it has to be 100% certified organic...it said the only thing worth buying 100%organic was milk...especially for children 2 and under due to all hormones cows are given to keep them producing milk.
Who knows? Tomorrow it will be something else!

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

discussion, or read about it in any of my pamphlets, or books relating to breast cancer.

Interesting .. you learn something new everyday!

Thank you for sharing.

Vicki Sam

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

There is so much contradictory information out there about nutrition and it's relationship to cancer. Milk is good, milk is bad...coffee is good, coffee is bad. It's really hard to know what is right for you and what you need to change.

In my reading I've found general agreement on a few things...leafy greens are good, antioxidants are good, fiber is good (the more natural the source the better), whole grains are good, plenty of filtered water is good, exercise is good...sugar, processed foods, and artificial ingredients are bad. So this is where I'm trying to focus on my eating when I'm being good and paying attention. In the last couple of days I haven't been able to resist the Doritos! Shame on me! LOL

If you haven't found them yet, you might want to check Anticancer by Steven Schrieber-Something (sorry, I can't remember), Life Over Cancer by Keith Block, the Crazy Sexy Cancer books by Kris Carr. The Cancer Project is a website that offers books, classes, DVD's, etc. they are run by Physicians for Responsible Medicine.

I would also check to see if there is a nutritionist available at your mom's cancer center. It's their job to stay informed about all of those contradictory studies, and she/he should know which studies are reputable and which ones are not.

I hope this helps.


Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

While the milk produced by giving cows estrogen so they produce more milk is not recommended for folks with estrogen positive cancers, there are some cancer fighting ingredients in milk fat that I have read about. If you go for low fat organic milk those cancer fighting properties are probably there and good for you. I tried for a few months, but then the price tag got a little too steep for me. The grocer pointed out that she was only buying hormone-free milk. So I compromised and went back to the regular 1%. It may or may not have the cancer fighting agents I'd like since it is homoginized, but it won't harm me and it will keep my bones healthy. Weak bones kill too. I eat lots of other cancer fighters as often as possible throughout the day.

By the way, my doctors (also university professors who research a lot) tell me that what I ate as a teenager probably mattered. What my mom ate when she was pregnant with me probably mattered. While what I eat now needs to be healthy enough to keep my body going, nothing has not been proven effective in preventing cancer from reoccuring. That bummed me out since I wanted the magic lamp that I could use to control the nasty C. The doctor keeps telling me that when someone finds a diet that really works it will make the headlines of all the newspapers in the US. At the same time, those of us who eat better can withstand more aggressive treatment when it is necessary. That means that we do end up living longer as well as enjoying what time we have more since we are healthier. So eat that rainbow diet so your whole body is healthy. Get your daily exercise (which is proven to be effective against cancer). See your doctor for all those re-checks. Don't make yourself miserable with a diet you can't stand. And don't worry too much if you can't control every bite you eat (bad for the blood pressure!)

phoenixrising's picture
Posts: 1511
Joined: Feb 2007

At what point does someone's idea become a truth? I remember back in the early 90's when I was a strong health food and alternative medicine advocate having a discussion with a friend about the truth of information that was being marketed to us by the alternative industry. At that point it seemed OK if backed by a Doctor. Things have certainly changed! This might be strange but I am not nearly as anal about my organics as I once was or about meat. You see I used dairy and red meat sparingly, paid the premium price for organics and was mindful of the veggie/fruit servings I got in a day and here I am, the only one in my family on either side to get cancer of any sort. It blows me away. Anyway, on to dairy..

Canada does not nor ever has used the rBGH used in dairy cattle to promote more milk and our breast cancer rates are similiar to the U.S. So, in my mind anyway, although I disagree with the use of the hormone, I don't think there is any scientific evidence that it causes or promotes breast cancer.

Here are some excerpts from studies I have found:
Dairy consumption and calcium intake and risk of breast cancer in a prospective cohort: the Norwegian Women and Cancer study.
OBJECTIVE: To study the association between consumption of dairy products and calcium intake and risk of breast cancer risk according to menopausal status.

METHODS: In a population-based prospective cohort study of 64,904 Norwegian women followed from 1996/1999 through 2006, we examined total dairy consumption and consumption of various dairy products in relation to pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer risk. We also examined breast cancer in relation to calcium intake and to milk consumption during childhood and performed additional analyses corrected for measurement errors in the dietary data. In total, 218 premenopausal and 1,189 postmenopausal incident breast cancer cases were diagnosed during follow-up.

RESULTS: Total dairy, adult, and childhood milk consumption was not associated with either pre- or postmenopausal breast cancer risk. Premenopausal women with the highest consumption of white cheese had half the risk of breast cancer compared to those with the lowest consumption (hazard rate ratio in the 4th quartile vs. the 1st quartile 0.50, 95% confidence interval 0.29-0.87). Total calcium intake tended to be inversely related to premenopausal (hazard rate ratio in the 4th quartile vs. the 1st quartile 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.39-1.08) and postmenopausal breast cancer (hazard rate ratio in the 4th quartile vs. the 1st quartile 0.85, 95% confidence interval 0.70-1.04). Correcting for measurement errors did not alter the results substantially, nor did exclusion of early cancer cases.

CONCLUSION: Dairy consumption is not strongly related to breast cancer risk in this prospective study. A non-significant negative association between calcium intake and breast cancer risk was seen, particularly among premenopausal women.

Dairy products, calcium intake, and breast cancer risk: a case-control study in China

The results of dairy food consumption and breast cancer risk are conflicting, and their relationship has not previously been studied in China. The objective of this study is to examine the association between dairy products, calcium intake, and breast cancer risk among Chinese women. A hospital-based case-control study was conducted among Chinese women in the Guangdong province from June 2007 to August 2008. Four hundred and thirty-eight consecutively recruited cases with primary breast cancer were frequency-matched to 438 controls on age and residence. Dietary intake information was collected by interviewers using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated using unconditional multiple logistic regression adjusted for various potential confounders. We observed a statistically significant inverse association of dietary calcium intake with breast cancer risk, with the adjusted OR (95% CI) of 0.35 (0.22-0.56) comparing the highest with the lowest quartile. No significant association was found between dairy products measured either by dry weight of dairy product or dairy product protein intake and breast cancer risk. Our study supports a protective effect of high intake of dietary calcium on breast cancer risk, and no association with dairy product intake

Consumption of fermented milk products and breast cancer: a case-control study in The Netherlands

In a case-control study in The Netherlands, we observed a significantly lower consumption of fermented milk products (predominantly yogurt and buttermilk) among 133 incident breast cancer cases as compared to 289 population controls (mean +/- SD among users only, 116 +/- 100 versus 157 +/- 144 g/day; P less than 0.01). The age-adjusted odds ratio of daily consumption of 1.5 glasses (greater than or equal to 225 g) of fermented milk versus none was 0.50 (95% confidence interval, 0.23-1.08). When fermented milk was entered as a continuous variable (per g) in either age-adjusted or multivariate analysis, the odds ratio expressed per 225 g was 0.63 (multivariate-adjusted 95% confidence interval, 0.41-0.96). After multivariate adjustment for intake of fat and other confounders, a statistically significant decrease in breast cancer risk was also observed for increasing intake of Gouda cheese. The multivariate-adjusted odds ratio expressed per 60 g of this fermented product was 0.56 (95% confidence interval, 0.33-0.95). For daily intake of milk, no statistically significant differences were observed between cases and controls. These results support the hypothesis that high consumption of fermented milk products may protect against breast cancer.

It's hard to know what to believe. Even these studies could be faulty. You'll have to find someone you trust like your onc or a nutritionist to give you information you can feel confident with. I have osteo so it is to my benefit anyway to intake dairy as well as supplements.

Good luck with your decision :)


CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

There is not good evidence that milk is associated with breast cancer. However, it is probably a good idea to cut down on dairy FAT. I would not recommend giving up milk. Many breast cancer patients are on meds that can adversely affect bone and, if not, we all still need to keep our bones as strong as possible because that is one of the most likely sites breast cancer will metastasize to. I drink organic fat free milk and take a calcium supplement. Check with your mom's doctor and ask a hospital nutritionist.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors Table at Komen

Posts: 550
Joined: Nov 2009

I think there was a specific reason for me to drink 1% vs. fat free, but I can't remember.
All dairy, meat, and fruit are organic in my house.

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