While some people claim dairy products can prevent cancer, others argue that dairy could actually increase the cancer risk. There are also concerns that dairy can potentially spur growth in hormone-sensitive cancers, including some forms of ovarian and breast cancer.
Is there a relationship between dairy and cancer? We consulted with the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) Nutrition Department to find out.
Only a few cohort studies – which follow the health of a group of people over time – have examined whether there is a connection between dairy product consumption and cancer, and whether that connection is beneficial or harmful. But according to nutritionists at DF/BWCC, the data generated from those studies have often been conflicting or incomplete. So, for now, there are no definitive conclusions about the potential benefits or risks of dairy products for different types of cancer.
Until more research is carried out, DF/BWCC nutritionists advise people to limit their intake of dairy foods and choose low-fat and organic dairy products when possible. It’s important to customize recommendations to each individual’s situation. Patients and others with questions may request to speak with a Dana-Farber nutritionist to receive more individually tailored recommendations.
These recipes with dairy offer a few healthy options: