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Dairy Foods and Calcium Intakes Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk, Study Shows

A study shows that consumption of dairy foods or calcium does not seem to increase the risk of breast cancer, while higher yogurt and cheese consumption reveals an inverse association with the risk of estrogen-receptor breast cancer, a less hormonally dependent subtype with poor prognosis.

Dairy Foods and Calcium Intakes Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk, Study Shows
Photo: Dairy Foods and Calcium Source | InStyleHealth

Researchers followed individual-level data of >1 million women who were monitored for a maximum of 8-20 years were pooled across 21 cohort studies. The researchers then evaluated the correlations for dairy product and calcium intakes with the risk of incident invasive breast cancer overall and by subtypes defined by estrogen receptor status. Researchers then estimated and combined study-specific multivariable hazard ratios using the random-effects models.

Generally, the consumption of specific dairy products, dietary calcium from foods only, and total calcium which is from foods and supplements, was not correlated with the risk of overall breast cancer.

Each dairy product showed a null or very weak inverse association with overall breast cancer risk; however, intakes of yogurt and cottage/ricotta cheese were found to be inversely correlated with estrogen-negative tumors only.

Moreover, dietary calcium intake revealed a weak correlation with breast cancer risk.

According to the researchers that future studies on fermented dairy products, earlier life exposures, estrogen-negative breast cancer, and different racial/ethnic populations may further elucidate the relation.


Source: Am J Clin Nutr 2021;114:450-461

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