The Milk/Cancer Link

  • 13 Aug 2010
  • Reading time 8 mins
Login to add to reading list

Half the people of the world drink milk – but it’s not part of our evolutionary design. Find out how reducing your milk intake can decrease the risk of cancer.

There is now consistent and substantial evidence that the higher the milk consumption of a country, the greater their breast and prostate cancer risk. The highest risk of cancer death is found in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, countries that are among the biggest consumers of milk. In stark contrast, in most Asian countries the risk is minimal. [1] In such countries, where the diet consists mainly of wholegrains, vegetables, fruits, tofu, soya milk and other soya products – and where milk is not a normal part of the diet – people are generally healthier, and breast and prostate cancers are much rarer than in the US and Europe.

The problem with milk

The connection between milk an increased risk of cancer has been known for some time. Back in 1937, a group of 4,999 children in the UK took part in a long-term study recording their dietary habits year on year. Some 65 years later, those with a high dairy intake during childhood were found to have tripled their odds of having colorectal cancer. [2] There was a weaker association with prostate cancer risk and no association, in this study, with increased breast cancer risk. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), 19 out of 23 studies have shown a positive association between dairy intake and prostate cancer: “This is one of the most consistent dietary predictors for prostate cancer in the published literature… In these studies, men with the highest dairy intakes had approximately double the risk of total prostate cancer, and up to a fourfold increase in risk of metastatic or fatal prostate cancer relative to low consumers.” [3]

Another large study involving 63,550 people in Britain, known as the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition), found no clear association between milk consumption and breast cancer, but it did find a trend towards a higher risk for premenopausal women partial to butter, and also in those with high intakes of processed meats. [4] To date it appears that countries that are virtually milk-free have the lowest risk, and that, among Western countries, low milk intake means a low risk of colorectal ......

The full content of this report is only viewable by 100% Health Club members.

MEMBERS have free access to 100's of Reports, a monthly 100% Health Newsletter, free use of the 100% Health programme with unlimited reassessments and big discounts, up to 30% off books, supplements and             foods at


Find out more