WASHINGTON—"Ditch Dairy to Protect Your Prostate,” urge bus shelter advertisements the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has placed in Washington, D.C., which has the highest prostate cancer mortality rate in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research shows that milk, cheese, and other dairy products can increase the risk of prostate cancer and dying from it.
The three bus shelter advertisements are in Ward 4, which has the District’s highest prostate cancer incidence and mortality rate, according to the District of Columbia Department of Health. The bus shelters are located at:
- Northbound Georgia Avenue, NW, at Geranium Street, NW
- Southbound Georgia Avenue, NW, at Madison Street, NW
- Westbound Upshur Street, NW, at 9th Street, NW
“To help fight prostate cancer in Washingtonian, D.C., which has the highest prostate cancer mortality rate in the country, I encourage the District of Columbia Department of Health to update its prostate cancer information to warn that dairy products increase prostate cancer risk and to recommend a plant-based diet, which can be protective against prostate cancer,” wrote Maggie Neola, RD, LD, in a letter to LaQuandra S. Nesbitt MD, MPH, director of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Ms. Neola is a dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Barnard Medical Center, located in Washington, D.C.
A study published this month found that a high intake of dairy products such as milk increased the risk of developing prostate cancer. Previous research has shown the same. High intakes of dairy products including whole and low-fat milk and cheese increase the risk for prostate cancer, according to a meta-analysis that looked at 32 studies. Dairy products also increase the risk of death from prostate cancer. Men who consumed three or more servings of dairy products a day had a 141% higher risk for death due to prostate cancer compared to those who consumed less than one serving, in a study published in the International Journal of Cancer.
Avoiding dairy products and eating a more plant-based diet may help protect the prostate. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who followed a vegan diet had a 35% lower prostate cancer risk than those following a nonvegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, or semi-vegetarian diet.
New research in The Journal of Urology found that men who consume the most plant-based foods decrease their risk of dying from prostate cancer by 19%.
Plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans provide plentiful calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The natural source of vitamin D is sunlight, and fortified cereals, grains, bread, orange juice, and plant milks are dietary options.
Earlier this year, the Physicians Committee sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture to compel the agency to retract portions of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released on Dec. 29, 2020, and reissue them with a focus on three changes, including: "Delete dairy promotions, since dairy products increase cancer risk, while nondairy calcium sources help prevent cancer."
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.