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Nutrition and Cancer Web Seminars

Dairy Products, Calcium, and Prostate Cancer: A Review of the Evidence

Originally Presented On: Saturday, July 22, 2006

Event:  The Cancer Project’s 2006 Cancer & Nutrition Symposium in Bethesda, Md.

Speaker: Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D.
Professor in the departments of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and an associate professor in the department of medicine at the Harvard Medical School.

Synopsis: This talk reviewed the evidence that a high consumption of dairy products is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, particularly its more aggressive and fatal types. The components of dairy products that may increase risk, including calcium and fat, were addressed. 

Intended Audience: Internists, oncologists, registered dieticians, registered nurses, and cancer researchers.

Objectives: Upon completion of this Web Seminar, participants should be able to:

  • have an understanding of the research investigating the relationship between dairy product consumption and prostate cancer risk;
  • have an understanding of calcium's role in prostate cancer risk; and
  • be able to describe the significance of prostate-specific-antigen screening on cancer incidence rates. 

CMEs: Not available for this event.

Speaker Bio:  Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D.
Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D.Dr. Giovannucci is a professor in the departments of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and an associate professor in the department of medicine at the Harvard Medical School. He graduated from Harvard University in 1980, received a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1984, and did his residency in anatomic pathology at the University of Connecticut. He received a doctoral degree in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1992.

His research focuses on how nutritional, environmental and lifestyle factors relate to various malignancies, especially those of the prostate and colorectum. A specific area of interest is the etiologic mechanisms underlying the relation between these modifiable factors and cancer risk.  His work has included the study of how nutrition and other lifestyle factors impact on cancer risk by influencing levels of insulin, insulin-like growth factors, vitamin D metabolites, and steroid hormones. Another area of interest is how nutrients may interact with genetic susceptibilities in determining an individual's risk. This work includes genetic variation in the vitamin D receptor, folate metabolizing enzymes, and the androgen receptor. Recent work on prostate cancer has focused on the beneficial role of specific antioxidants, particularly lycopene and selenium, and on the potentially deleterious effects of diets high in calcium.

Dr. Giovannucci recently received the 2005 DeWitt-Goodman Award for excellence in cancer research from the American Association for Cancer Research.


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