Dairy Foods Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer



PROSTATE cancer risk could be increased by eating dairy foods, according to researchers and consultant urologist Professor Roger Kirby.

Dairy foods can damage the DNA in prostates, which could lead to cancer, Kirby said.

They could also increase the risk of oxidative stress, which is when the body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to stop the damaging effects of free radicals.

Red meat could have a similar effect, said Kirby, who is also Medical Director of The Prostate Centre - part of HCA Healthcare UK.

Prostate Cancer UK recognised there may be an increased risk of developing the cancer by eating dairy foods, and suggests cutting back on it until research is more conclusive.

“There is considerable speculation about the role of various dietary components in inducing or promoting prostate cancer,” said Kirby.

“Your food intake is naturally important for your wider health and wellbeing, and there are particular food types which may have a role to play in prostate health.

“Red meat, especially when chargrilled or overcooked, and dairy products – such as milk, cheese and butter – act as oxidants which can cause damage to the DNA within the prostate.

“Dairy products in particular are also known to increase levels of oxidative stress, which has been linked to increasing the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.”

A 2001 US study analysed the diets and prostate cancer cases in almost 21,000 men.

The researchers found that dairy products and calcium were linked to a greater risk of developing prostate cancer, they claimed.

The same researchers also found in 2012 that drinking whole milk increased the risk of prostate cancer becoming more deadly.

But, Prostate Cancer UK said more research was needed to confirm the link.

“Some studies have found that eating or drinking lots of dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt or cheese, might increase your risk of prostate cancer,” the charity’s website said. “This might be because of the calcium in dairy products, or it could be something else.

“We need more research to find out whether eating less calcium or fewer dairy products might help to prevent prostate cancer. Until we know more, you might want to try reducing these foods in your diet.

“But you do need some calcium – about 700mg a day – to keep your bones healthy. You can get 700mg of calcium by having a 200ml glass of milk, 30g of cheese and a small yoghurt.”

Kirby recommended eating foods that were rich in antioxidants, as they may have a protective effect against the cancer.

Blueberries, strawberries and broccoli could be added into your diet to possibly lower your risk, he added.

In the UK, about one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives, according to Prostate Cancer UK.