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August 5, 2005

Goodness of milk 'offset by ovarian cancer risk' ?

Topics: Health Issues

Scientists have reported that drinking just one glass of milk a day could increase the risk of women developing ovarian cancer. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm analysed 21 studies researching diet and ovarian cancer and found that drinking milk increased cancer risk by 13 per cent.

Although the report by Laura Roberts in The Scotsman, brings attention to an increased risk in ovarian cancer, milk does offer benefits of protection in many other cancers, and even with the research study of the Karolinska scientists indicating significant risk in ovarian cancer, it's important to remember that the conclusion is based upon a retrospective study(cohort study) using linear regression analysis . So we have a statistical result based upon information provided by patients, not a double-blind case-controled study that would be more conclusive, that supports the hypothesis that high intakes of dairy foods and lactose may increase the risk of ovarian cancer [Relative Risk(RR) = 1.13, CI = 1.05 - 1.22].

(...) But milk actually lowers the risk of other cancers and they did not recommend women should stop drinking it. No significant link was found between other dairy products and the disease.

(...) The study investigated cases of malignant ovarian cancer, which affects 50 per cent of ovarian cancer sufferers.

(...) "You can lower your risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, which is more common than ovarian cancer, by drinking milk. Milk is still more beneficial than harmful."

(...) "I cannot confirm at what age, or over what period of time, drinking milk can begin to cause ill-effects.

(...) "Children need milk but perhaps teenagers should watch how much they drink."

(...) Derek Napier, the chief executive of the Association of International Cancer Research (AICR) in St Andrews, said: "If we are saying a glass of milk a day is cancerous we might as well shoot ourselves.

Even in Laura Robert's article we find the statement, "This study has shown that regularly drinking milk is linked to a very tiny increase in the absolute risk of ovarian cancer - equivalent to about 0.2 per cent." So even though there is a reported risk, it's important to keep it in perspective. But there is a message to take away from the report in The Scotsman, and that is - if you are at seriously at risk for ovarian cancer, then you should avoid lactose.

Posted by Hyscience at August 5, 2005 12:37 PM

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