WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee—a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors—is inviting World Series champions the Chicago Cubs to share a baseball-themed image that encourages men play hardball against cancer by striking milk from their diets. Men who drink the most milk increase their risk of death from prostate cancer by as much as 50 percent according to a new study.
“The Chicago Cubs could make history again by urging men to strike milk from their diets to play hardball against prostate cancer,” says Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D. “The Cubs should let men know that drinking milk could increase prostate cancer death risk by 50 percent.”
In the new study published in Nutrition Journal, researchers reviewed 11 studies that encompassed more than 700,000 participants and assessed dairy intake and cancer mortality rates. Male participants who consumed the most whole milk increased their risk of death from prostate cancer by as much as 50 percent, compared with those who consumed the least amount. Researchers suspect the animal fat and calcium found in milk may contribute to the increased risk.
Other studies have found the same link between dairy products and prostate cancer. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that total dairy product, total milk, low-fat milk, cheese, and dietary calcium intakes were associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer. According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, men who consumed three or more servings of dairy products a day had a 141 percent higher risk for death due to prostate cancer compared to those who consumed less than one serving. Both high- and low-fat dairy products were associated with increased mortality.
A plant-based diet can protect against prostate cancer. In a recent study, researchers compared several dietary patterns and cancer incidence rates for 26,346 participants. Men who followed a vegan diet experienced a 35 percent lower prostate cancer risk than those following a nonvegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, or semi-vegetarian diet.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training.