Vegan Health ArticlesOvarian Cancer and Dairy
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From Michael Greger, M.D.

There have been three "prospective" (forward-looking) studies of the link between dairy intake and the risk of developing ovarian cancer, the silent killer--so-named because by the time the tumor is found, it is often too late. Every single study showed the same thing.

In 1999 the Iowa Women's Study, which followed 29,000 women for a decade, found essentially the same thing that the Harvard Nurse's Study found five years later.[1] Following 80,000 nurses for 16 years, Harvard researchers last year published a study indicating that those who consumed the most dairy (particularly skim and low-fat milk) doubled their risk of developing the most common and deadly form of ovarian cancer. Each glass of milk a day seemed to increase their risk 20%.[2]

The culprit seems to be the milk sugar lactose, which is broken down into galactose in the body, a substance found not only to be directly toxic to a woman's egg cells, but which may speed the growth of cancers by elevating the levels of certain growth hormones.

The third major study was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Swedish researchers followed over 60,000 women for over a decade and found the same thing. The researchers conclude: "Women who consumed >1 glass of milk a day had double the risk of serous ovarian cancer compared with women who never or seldom drank milk."

In response to this third major prospective trial again showing increased cancer risk from milk, the spokeswoman of the American Dairy Council stuck to the party line that more research was necessary.[3] As far as I'm concerned, though, three strikes and you're out.


[1] Kushi LH, Mink PJ, Folsom AR, et al. "Prospective Study Of Diet and Ovarian Cancer." American Journal of Epidemiology 149(1999):21.

[2] Fairfield KM, Hunter DJ, Colditz GA, et al. "A Prospective Study of Dietary Lactose and Ovarian Cancer." International Journal of Cancer 110(2004):271.

[3] Boyles, S. "Study Links Milk to Ovarian Cancer" WebMD Medical News. 3 December 2004.

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.