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The Physicians Committee



New Study Strengthens Ovarian Cancer-Milk Link

dumping milkA new analysis of 21 studies investigating the link between ovarian cancer and the consumption of milk products and lactose strengthens the case against dairy consumption.

The meta-analysis, conducted at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, supports a long-held hypothesis that dairy products increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Published in the International Journal of Cancer, the study found a stronger link in cohort studies than in case-control studies. Cohort studies follow a group of people over time and are considered more reliable than case-control studies which compare patients and healthy control subjects at a single point in time.

A positive relationship between ovarian cancer and dairy products was first reported in 1989. Although some later studies yielded conflicting results, major prospective investigations have added considerable weight to the argument against milk consumption. In Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study, researchers found that women who consumed the most lactose had twice the occurrence of a certain form of ovarian cancer than women who drank the least. Researchers hypothesize that galactose, a component of the milk sugar lactose, may damage ovarian cells, making them more susceptible to cancer.



 

PCRM Online, August 2005

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