- Drinking milk, eating cheese and ice cream increase risk.
- (HealthSCOUT) - Got milk? Lots of it? Then you may also
be in line to get prostate cancer, a long-term study suggests.
- A 13-year look at 20,855 male doctors who took part in
the Physicians' Health Study shows that men who enjoy lots of milk, cheese
and ice cream are 30 percent more likely to get prostate cancer. The study
is a long-term look at U.S. doctors who were aged 40-82 when the study
began in 1982.
- "It's actually quite a weak association," says
Julie Chan, a research fellow with the Harvard School of Public Health
in Boston. "In other, previous studies, where we had a more comprehensive
assessment of diet, we saw a two- to four-fold increase in risk for the
disease [and dairy products]."
- Chan and researchers from Harvard University and Brigham
and Women's Hospital in Boston used a brief dietary questionnaire to figure
out how much of five foods the men ate and drank. "We assessed their
diet between 1992 and 1984 when the men were healthy. Then we followed
them for about 11 years. In that period of time about 1,000 of the men
got prostate cancer, which is not an unusual percentage."
- This year, about 180,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate
cancer, and about 32,000 will die from the disease, the American Cancer
Society estimates. The National Cancer Institute says prostate cancer
is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in American men.
- Chan says, "These men had a moderate elevation in
their risk for prostate cancer when we adjusted for other risk factors
such as age, smoking, exercise levels and body mass index."
- Chan will present the results of her study tomorrow at
the 91st annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research
in San Francisco.
- Researchers found another clue for an increased risk
in men who drank more than six glasses of milk a week.
- Men who drank the most milk seemed to have lower levels
of a protective form of vitamin D (not the same form of the vitamin D
used to fortify milk), Chan says.
- Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity
for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta explains: "Calcium, especially
when it is taken as a supplement, has the ability to temporarily suppress
the amount of vitamin D that circulates in the blood. Vitamin D is thought
to be important in suppressing the growth of prostate cells."
- The possible link between calcium and prostate cancer
is no surprise to the American Cancer Society.
- "There have been other studies that suggest that
calcium may be an increased risk for prostate cancer," says Doyle.
"And there are also some studies that suggest that calcium is protective
against colon cancer; the jury is still out on both of those."
- "What we do know is that consuming calcium is important
to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, so don't jump to conclusions and throw
out the milk with the bath water," Doyle says.
- More research is still needed, Chan and Doyle say.
- "From the American Cancer Society perspective, we
have been keeping an eye on this, but the science is not yet conclusive,
so we have not come out and recommended that men completely avoid calcium."
- Chan agrees: "We did not want to recommend that
men stop consuming calcium. What we wanted to do with this study is encourage
- What To Do
- The American Cancer Society says that calcium is still
an important nutrient. "Don't stop consuming calcium," Doyle
says. "And dairy products, which are a major source of calcium, are
not the only source. Leafy greens are full of calcium. But if you do choose
to eat dairy products, don't forget to choose the low-fat varieties."
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
Site Served by TheHostPros