Whole Milk Linked to Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer Recurrence

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Drinking whole milk is associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer recurrence in men who have undergone treatment for the disease, according to a study reported in 2018 in the journal Prostate.

Previous research from observational studies suggested that men who regularly consume dairy products have an increased risk for prostate cancer, but less was known about the impact these foods and beverages have after diagnosis.

Researchers asked 1,334 men who had received a diagnosis of nonmetastatic prostate cancer within the previous two years to fill out questionnaires about their diets. Eight years later, 137 men had died of prostate cancer or had evidence of recurrence, such as rising PSA levels. Overall, men who consumed whole milk four or more times per week were 73 percent more likely to experience recurrence than those who consumed fewer than three servings per month. Whole milk’s apparent influence on recurrence was limited to men who were overweight or obese (BMI 27 or higher), among whom whole milk tripled the risk. High levels of saturated fat in whole milk may be the culprit, the authors theorize.

The findings from this observational study don’t prove that whole milk increases risk of recurrence. Nevertheless, if you’re overweight or obese, switching to low- or nonfat dairy can help you save calories and, perhaps, lose a few extra pounds-a move that’s been proven to be a good idea for your overall health.