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Does Dairy Cause Breast Cancer?

Does Dairy Cause Breast Cancer?

Consuming dairy is probably linked to breast cancer, so say many renowned researchers and studies, including a 2009 paper available in the National Institutes of Health library.

Free From Harm compiled a collection of information from experts about the connection between dairy and breast cancer. Some highlights:

  • “Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein, promoted all stages of the cancer process,” says Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the well-regarded, seminal China Study, summing up his relevant findings.
  • “[S]everal epidemiological studies have indicated a relationship between dairy consumption and breast cancer risk in pre-menopausal women (Outwater, 1997).” -Breast Cancer Fund
  • “It appears that when individuals do not have the correct enzymes to metabolize many of the hormones naturally found in any type of cow’s milk, a glass of milk can flood the body with excess estrogen. This raises the risk of developing or accelerating the growth of existing breast cancer.” -Susan Wadia-Ells, Founding Director of Knowbreastcancer.net
  • Professor Jane Plant advocates changing from dairy to soy products to prevent breast cancer, noting that “even in Hiroshima, the chances of contracting breast cancer are half that of western nations. Only when Chinese and Japanese women move to Europe or the United States does their chance of contracting breast cancer dramatically increase,” as Free From Harm summarized.
  • “While scientists are hard at work searching for specific breast cancer-fighting compounds, the safest approach is to apply what we already know: Diets that are highest in a variety of plant foods and stay away from heavy oils, meat, and dairy products, help prevent a great many diseases.” -Dr. Neal M. Bernard
  • “Some dairy products, such as whole milk and many types of cheese, have a relatively high saturated fat content, which may increase risk. Moreover, milk products may contain contaminants such as pesticides, which have carcinogenic potential, and growth factors such as insulin-like growth factor I, which have been shown to promote breast cancer cell growth.” -The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Some nutritionists confirm the doctors’ findings. One of them, Phil Richards, writes that “the connection between casein and cancer was so profound [in experiments on rats] that the scientists could literally turn cancer growth on and off in the laboratory animals, like a light switch, simply by altering the level of casein protein in their diets.” Specifically, “[c]onsuming dairy products is linked to an increased risk for breast cancer as dairy products are high in fat, animal protein, and hormones, each of which increases cancer risk. Since the 1980′s, study after study has linked dairy consumption to a high incidence of breast and other cancers.”

Part of the problem with dairy is the things that come out of cows because of the way factory farmers treat them, as The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition quote above suggests. Dairy producers inject cows with a growth hormone to increase their milk production by a factor of ten. That milk then contains pus, bacteria, and blood because of the infections cows are prone to from their living conditions and from producing far more milk than they are meant to. Obviously these are not healthy things for us to drink.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure sounds a more conservative note than the researchers cited above: “data from the Nurses’ Health Study II found women who ate a lot of high-fat dairy products (like whole milk or butter) were at higher risk of premenopausal breast cancer,” it admits, but nevertheless asserts that “[m]ost studies have found no link between consuming dairy products and breast cancer in premenopausal women.” The site also claims that studies “have found no link between dairy product intake…and postmenopausal breast cancer risk.”

Another article went further, claiming that “dairy products may” make postmenopausal women “less likely to develop breast cancer.”

At most, as Cancer Research UK states, “[s]tudies investigating a link between cancer and dairy products have not given clear results…[W]e need further research to find out more about the links between dairy products and cancer risk.” Perhaps the safest course is to follow Jane Plant’s advice to replace dairy products with soy, which, as Care2 has reported, has a protective effect against breast cancer.

Related Stories:

All My Sisters: Avoiding Breast Cancer

Milk: Does It Really Do A Body Good?

Enjoy Soy: Dr. Debunks Scaremonger Stories, Says Soy Beneficial For People And The Planet

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Photo credit: iStockphoto

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140 comments

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2:42AM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

2:10AM PST on Nov 20, 2012

No, Vaalea, not by the farthest stretch of one's imagination.You're resorting to hysterics in your attempts to "goad" me into any further "engagement" and until you post something relevant to THIS discussion and on topic, and other than a website from a slanted source or from a site that doesn't promote such things as vivisection to be a source that should have credibility IN this discussion, I will do my best to ignore you. Vivisection, no matter WHAT your definition of it happens to be, has nothing to do with THIS topic.

Go ahead, post your links again. They will be ignored AGAIN because as I said now about 3 or 4 times, I do not respect either site as being relevant to what is being discussed HERE, in THIS discussion, and again, the FIRST time you posted them was after I commented to you about NOT posting anything credible for support of your opinions, which again, is all they are..........your OPINIONS.

8:22PM PST on Nov 19, 2012

One thing that doesn't sit well (from a naturopathic point of view) - Changing to soy milk is not really a suitable suggestion. The cancer-preventative benefits of soy come from FERMENTED soy products (tofu, tempeh, miso) but there is little evidence to support soy milk as a healthy daily drink. Many of the proteins in soy (unless they are fermented) can cause similar problems to those found in dairy.

7:11PM PST on Nov 19, 2012

"vivisection" includes sewing kittens eyes shut Diane. I provided the links directly in my message to you again when you said you didn't see any... You vaguely reference information that was already shared somewhere below and is "all over the internet." but are hard up of actually quoting any.

2:07AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Good GRIEF, Vaalia, what is your PROBLEM? There is no "perfect" diet, nor do I get nutritional advice from reading The Bible. I don't have to GIVE you links to anything. I'm not your teacher. If you need information, "Google" it yourself. It's all been put out there, and in here, all over Care.2 a dozen or more times in almost every "GO VEGAN" article in this site. Instead of trying to "engage" me in your silly online argument/fight, why not send a bit of time scrolling back thru this article, alone? You can find the answers to almost all of your questions and the rebuttals to all of your accusations and arguments.

BTW, I'll assume you don't think sewing kittens eyes shut to study the effects of sight deprevation on their brains is cruel and abusive? Wow.

10:14AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

Diane it is clear you have made up your mind and no research or pro-organic milk article will change it. You have not provided me a single link to back up your statements - I'm sure you are not a scientist and this your area of expertise. You are probably the kind of person who will only acknowledge what a PERFECT diet consists of, if you read about it in Genesis 1.

11:32PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Whoops, sticky keyboard..........I meant "goading" me into doing.

11:31PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

I know both your comments are addresed to me, Vaalea, and I'm not responding to them as you obviously are trying to god me into doing. The last one is not even worthy and to answer your question in he one before that, WHEN I can obviously read the source of the link, that influences whether I'll click on it or not. YOU didn't provide any links until your comment to me accusing me of NOT reading them, and then they were a bit obscure in the comment and I didn't notice them, but did check them out as far as their source. Again, anything from the University of Wisconsin is nothing I want to read, period.

I've made NO comment at all abut estrogen in milk? I've made NO comment about pus in milk? YES, I have, it's just that ou don't wish to read what I said, or are ignoring it. You don't want a "discussion", nor are interested in an "exchange" of information. You only want other to read what YOU have to say and go with that, not the other way around. I have no interest in arguing, nor "feeding" someone with an agenda.

4:56PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

...on those principles and not considering them on their own merit.

http://news.illinois.edu/news/12/0605estrogen_WeiZheng.html and google "premarin"
and a pro organic milk website: http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/surprise-happier-cows-produce-healthier-milk-a-less-crap.html
"And if that isn't enough to make you go organic, consider this: conventional milk has a highly increased somatic cell count– that's a pretty way of saying that conventional milk contains much more pus." - this comparison slips that yes indeed, organic milk still contains pus, just not as much. So as i said, "Organic milk has pus and hormones... Why would you think it does not."

4:38PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

you obviously are judgemental about who you consider to be a "radical, vegan extremists" saying you would never read a link put forward by them, rather than judging the link on its own content.

again your response is 1. milk is healthy (according to the milk industry?) 2. animals are tested on superfluously (gee of course that is horrible. commoditizing animals to drink their milk is superfluous too).

you make no comment on the estrogen in milk, no comment on the somatic cell count (pus) in organic milk since you have claimed that organic has neither - yet you have yet to produce one link while I have given several. and you think dairy farms are wonderful places I wonder if you had ever been on one. you buy into the untruthful propaganda of the dairy INDUSTRY that makes money off of your buying milk, but accuse vegans of propaganda. milking a cow is "good" because the baby calf has been dragged from her at birth and is not there to drink the milk. it's a dilemma self-created by the industry, but you don't address that cows are impregnated year after year while still being milked, that they experience emotional distress having their babies torn away from them and that they are "spent" and sent to slaughter as teenagers, and all the baby male calves meet awful fates themselves. Nevermind the environmental stresses of dairy farming. .. no you just want to repeat why you can't trust harvard and umn... I'm sure you reject ALL studies from the universities on those principle

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