The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Does consuming dairy cause cancer?

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Cancer is a multifactorial disease and research has not yet produced any convincing evidence that dairy causes cancer. Dairy seems to offer substantial and robust health benefits to women in reducing the risk of the common and serious colorectal cancers.

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A review of many studies concludes that no definite answers (convincing evidence) are available yet to link dairy consumption with cancer. Many factors are thought to potentially influence the development of cancer, including genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle choices.

Diet (or foods) can have effects that either promote or prevent cancer. Despite many studies being conducted each year to unravel the complex link between dairy consumption and cancer, several questions remain unanswered. Consequently none of the World Cancer Research Fund’s recommendations for the prevention of cancer explicitly refer to dairy. Dairy seems to offer substantial and robust health benefits to women in reducing the risk of the common and serious colorectal cancers. Based on current knowledge, the protective effect of milk and dairy on colorectal cancers in men may outweigh a potentially increased risk of prostate cancer. In a holistic approach, where balance, variety, moderation and nutritional adequacy are valued, dietary recommendations cannot omit dairy.

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