Study warns drinking milk may drastically increase breast cancer risk

Drinking milk — the dairy variety, not milk alternatives like soy milk — may drastically increase a woman's chance of developing breast cancer, according to new research out of Loma Linda University's Adventist Health Sciences Center. Depending on how much milk is consumed, dairy was found to increase the risk of breast cancer by up to a massive 80-percent. The increased risk was found from drinking as little as 1/4-cup of cow milk per day.

The study was recently published in the International Journal of Epidemiology; it evaluated the potential breast cancer risk associated with drinking dairy milk and soy milk. The results call current US Dietary guidelines into question — the public is advised to drink three cups of milk daily, but as little as 1/4 to 1/3-cup of daily cow milk was found to increase breast cancer risk by 30-percent.

The study involved data on more than 52,000 women located in North America. None of the women had cancer at the time of the study's start. Over the course of nearly 8 years, the women were tracked and 1,057 cases of breast cancer were developed. After analyzing the data, the study linked consuming reduced-fat and full-fat dairy milk with increased breast cancer risk.

This association was found after adjusting for soy consumption, according to the study, which says that the current guidelines on daily milk consumption 'could be viewed with some caution.' The study's first author Gary E. Fraser explained, 'By drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50%, and for those drinking two to three cups per day, the risk increased further to 70% to 80%.'

The study didn't find any links between soy consumption and breast cancer; as well, there were no 'important associations' between eating yogurt and cheese and breast cancer risk. Data indicated that replacing dairy milk with soy milk may cause a 'marked reduction' the risk, indicating that milk-alternative products may be 'an optimal choice.'