Dairy Elevates Ovarian Cancer Risk

Ovarian Cancer Diagram

​The American Cancer Society estimates that over 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2017 and about 14,000 women are expected to die from this disease in the same year. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women, killing more women than any other type of cancer that affects the female reproductive system. 1 in 100 American women are likely to die from ovarian cancer. Several studies have found a link between diet and ovarian cancer risk.

Given the growing body of evidence that dietary choices may be a contributing factor to the development of ovarian cancer, a team of researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Sweden reviewed nutritional and clinical data extracted from 21 scientific studies to see if there was any food associated with the development of ovarian cancer. The Swedish investigators discovered that women who drank more than 2 glasses of milk daily had twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who consume little to no milk at all.

Another study conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard show that the likelihood of getting ovarian cancer is higher in women who consume 3 or more servings of milk daily than in women who rarely drink milk. The researchers believe that higher risk of ovarian cancer among milk drinkers might be caused by the high galactose content of milk.

Dairy Foods contain high amounts of lactose sugar. The human digestive system breaks down lactose into its component simple sugars: galactose and glucose. Galactose induces ovarian toxicity and stimulates the over-production of hormones that promote the conversion of healthy cells in the ovary into cancerous cells and tumors, thus increasing the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

1 in 75 American women with ovaries will develop ovarian cancer at some point in their lifetime. Regular consumption of milk and milk products may increase a woman's chances of ending up among the estimated 22,000 women that are diagnosed with ovarian cancer annually. Ovarian cancer odds are stacked in favor of non-milk drinkers. Staying away from dairy products will boost a woman's chances of avoiding ovarian cancer. 

Additional Information:

(1) What Are the Key Ovarian Cancer Statistics

(2) Dairy Products and Ovarian Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of 12 Cohort Studies

(3) Galactose Metabolism and Ovarian Toxicity

(4) Milk, Milk Products, and Lactose Intake and Ovarian Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Epidemiological Studies

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