Posted by: themossreports | November 13, 2010

Does Milk Cause or Promote Prostate Cancer?

Debate rages over health effects of milk

Debate rages over health effects of milk

Few issues are as contentious as the relationship between milk or dairy products and cancer. There are two vociferous camps claiming, alternately, that milk products are harmful and should therefore generally be avoided, or that dairy (and by extension, other animal-derived foods) are salutary and may actually prevent cancer and other diseases.

Now a new study in the journal The Prostate lends further evidence for the “anti-milk” view. Scientists at the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, and the Université de Montréal, compared 197 prostate cancer (PC) patients with an equal number of men who did not have PC. The participants filled out a food frequency questionnaire, recording their consumption of over 200 food items. There turned out to be a more than twofold increase in the risk of prostate cancer associated with an increased intake of dairy products. At the same time, there was a significant trend toward decreased prostate cancer risk associated in those who reported a higher than average intake of legumes, nuts, both fin- and shellfish and vitamin E (alpha tocopherol).

Interestingly, milk was the only dairy product that was significantly associated with increased prostate cancer risk. Also, the study did not address the issue of grass vs. grain fed cattle, or the problem of pesticide or hormone contamination of milk. But whatever in milk was increasing the PC trend it was not mainly calcium (a theory floated in the past). Calcium showed only a borderline association with PC risk, with only a slightly higher risk with increased calcium consumption.

This study supports the theory that dairy products, and especially standard commercial milk, are involved in the causation of prostate cancer. However, the researchers caution that the mechanisms by which the various nutrients in dairy and in the total diet may interact to influence this risk remain unknown.


Raimondi S, Mabrouk JB, Shatenstein B, Maisonneuve P, Ghadirian P. Diet and prostate cancer risk with specific focus on dairy products and dietary calcium: a case-control study. Prostate. 2010;70(10):1054-1065.


  1. I suspect they used pasteurized milk in the study, and I’d be willing to bet raw milk would not give the same prostate cancer increase results. See Dr. Mercola’s comments about just this topic.

    • I learned that organic raw milk contains anti-bodies designed for the calf and can attack islet cells of the pancreas, which may instigate diabetes. There are various studies pointing to this, but can’t cite them on this comment section. Sorry, just a short reply at this point, but something to look into if you are interested.

  2. i suspect that people who have been drinking raw milk for centuries had no increase in their cancer rates.
    all this is coming from genetically modified, hormone laced, pasteurized nutritionally inert crap

    • I think carolyn is right. Plus there’s a huge difference between NO dairy and some dairy. the recent study is bogus. Even a slight dairy intolerance affects the body if you consume ANY dairy. No doubt it was research funded by dairy lobbyests.

  3. I agree with those other comments too. Milk actually nearly ALWAYS means “pasteurized AND homogenized milk” these days, unless otherwise stated. Homogenization is probably just as bad, if not worse than pasteurisation!

    Pasteurised and/or homogenized milk and real (raw) milk are completely different products.

    I tend to add the word pasteurised whenever I talk about regular milk. People don’t realise there is a difference.

    I buy unhomogenized but pasteurised organic milk (because I can’t get raw milk), but I never drink it straight. I always use it to make my own fresh yoghurt so the milk is predigested by the microorganisms to make it more bioavailable and replaces many enzymes lost in the pasteurization process.

    Read about all this on the Weston A Price website.

  4. In the past, I read up on an elevated IGF-1, and found that when that is high, it can indicate an increased cancer risk. I recall reading that using lots of dairy sometimes increased the IGF-1 serum. Also, that an elevated IGF-1 serum test indicated an increase in prostrate cancer risk. An article stated that an elevated IGF-1 and Estridol hormone also indicated increased risk of prostrate cancer. Brevail website on a flax product to reduce breast cancer risk has an article stating that elevated IGF-1 is a tumor marker.
    Perhaps it is due to the fact that the standard dairy does have growth hormones in the milk unless otherwise labeled.

  5. i am wondering if anyone hasinformation about the actual difference between raw milk and the store bought version. my husband has a brainstem tumor and is doing the burzynski clinical trial. in addition we are using a nutritionist who recommends only raw milk products.

    • I’m sorry to hear of your husband’s brainstem tumor. I went to the Burzynski clinic and I felt the sodiumphenyl– drug didn’t help my lymphoma at all. I recommend NO dairy – see Lorraine Day on line, no meat, no dairy, no sugar, lots of juiced carrots and other vegetables etc. I know there are so many opinions.

  6. Homogenizing the fat in milk creates particles small enough to pass through the intestinal wall without being digested. Although the paseurized/homogonized milk industry unrelentingly fights a political war against raw milk, it should be possible to find 200 individuals who’ve consumed only whole, raw milk as their milk intake. If their prostate profile is different from homogonized milk drinkers, advocates of raw milk would have another public-health argument in their favor.

  7. Amen to the first two comments. They also did not differentiate between non-fat, lo fat or whole milk. Pasteurized, homogenized milk is not recognized or utilized as food in the human body.

  8. I went to the original article and the authors first note that: “Milk was the only dairy product significantly associated with prostate cancer risk.” Even our own highly respected Dr. Moss concludes that “dairy produicts” are implicated, albeit he does say as did the authors, “especially milk…” But the authors did not find dairy products implicated — they found milk and milk alone implicated. Now this finding of just milk is quite significant. Why didn’t at least some other diary products get implicated? In this one study, there was something about milk itself. However far be it for anyone to idict just milk lest they get a visit in the middle of the night from Brass-Knuckles Frankie from the Milk Suppliers Association. The commentators to the blog [above] have already teased this issue out — could our commerical milk be a problem?

    In our own reading of the research literature, what these researchers should have also controlled for was vitamin D3 and vitamin A ingestion. Other research shows that D3 can be clobbered in its cancer-hnderance role by excess vitamin A. I would guess these researchers do not have a clue about the surrounding research that bears on this issue.

    So with not only due respect to Dr. Moss, but rather great admiration and great respect, I would re-write his conclusion as

    “These researchers found that there is something about standard commericial milk that is associated with prostate cancer although there is no indication they adjusted for D3 consumption, or for vitamin A consumption. As a food study case control investigation, there was NO information about causation defined whatsoever.”

    This is precisely what we can say about this study … and commentary about “dairy” and about “causation” are quite misplaced.

    Steven Evans
    Senior Research Scientist
    Therapeutics Research Institute

  9. I don’t drink milk anymore, consume little dairy, and my kids don’t consume much of it either, anymore…so either way, I guess I don’t have to worry about this particular one.

  10. We can never rule out the fact that milk, no matter how long used by adults, is the food of infants in the mammal world. Cows milk is for calves and mothers milk for infants. However, the comments about commercially handled milk make this even more of a standout so there is lots to this besides the fact this was a rather small study. We shall await the often occurring counter study.

    • I too have often wondered why it is that we are the only mammals who insist on consuming milk as adults. Perhaps the animal world provides us with guidance and wisdom on this matter: what cow do we know of that naturally seeks out milk as part of its daily diet? Once a calf has been weaned, that’s it for milk…It is really very simple:just stop forcing this whole issue and eat as is natural and not as is dictated to us through foodpyramids, fda, etc.

      • We and cats!
        DO cats develop prostate cancer?

  11. I am nearly 75 but have had no prostate problems.
    I limit my dairy to one cup of milk per week…helps the ceral go down better. My Dr is amazed at how healthy Iam.

  12. This finding is consistent with that of Colin Campbell in his book The China Study. He found a high correlation between animal protein intake and cancer growth in world populations. He then confirmed that carcinogens did not necessarily lead to tumour growth unless there was sufficient intake of animal protein. The animal protein increased the activity of a particular enzyme allowing carcinogens to bind to DNA. It affected the process during initiation, promotion and progression. The animal protein used in his animal experiments was casein which makes up 87 percent of cow’s milk protein. He found casein to be an exceptionally potent cancer promoter.

  13. I really have no idea why such inconsistent theories take hold so quickly. And why they’re even being discussed here is a complete mystery because there was absolutely not one single conclusive remark in the entire article.

    Don Benjamin — if you think T. Colin Campbell’s work has any merit at all, you need to rethink and read some of the opinion against his work. Chris Masterjohn has done a superb job of discrediting Campbell’s theories, hands down.

    Yes, I agree with the first two posters here. No stats were given on what type of milk was used, and WHY only milk was used, but no other dairy products even mentioned. That is very strange, and another reason why I say this is all very sketchy and a lot of hot air with no basis in fact.

  14. When I drank pasteurized milk I had all kinds of problems such as lower backache, prostrate enlargement, logy feeling, fatigue, bloating, gas, etc etc. I was able to tolerate it if I brought it to a boil and added ginger and turmeric.

    The problem is that modern processing (pasteurization) destroys the enzymes which are necessary for digestion. Homogenization also messes with the chemistry to make it truly impossible to digest. Read “The Untold Story Of Milk” by Ron Schmid for a complete picture.

    Since I started with raw – milk/cheese/butter I do not have these problems.

    Drinking cold milk is a bad idea because it is not overly easy to digest. Unfortunately it is the way most people drink it.

  15. The first two responses from Dani and Carolynn hit the nail on the head. If people only could get their hands on raw milk. Then the levels of fat mean nothing.

  16. See: for information about how the Mayo Foundation (1929), forerunner of the Mayo Clinic, used milk (unpasteurized, unhomogenized) to cure many diseases.

    From the original article: “When sick people are limited to a diet containing an excess of vitamins and all the elements necessary to growth and maintenance, which are available in milk, they recover rapidly without the use of drugs and without bringing to bear all the complicated weapons of modern medicine.”

    Key here is that raw milk has all the vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes intact, unlike milk that has been put through heating and processing.

    Homogenizing milk links the protein and fat molecules so the cream won’t separate in the bottle. Unfortunately, that process creates a digestive issue in your body because protein and fat require different digestive enzymes to break down properly for assimilation. The result is a rise in cholesterol. Drinkers of natural, whole, raw milk who had high cholesterol, find that their levels go down. It’s not the fat in the milk creating the issue, it’s the processing that’s the problem. No, I don’t have statistics — just first hand testimony from people I know.

    It’s a shame that when studies are done like this one that makes milk the culprit, that scientists don’t look beyond what’s in front of them. Results need to be examined a little more deeply to uncover the total story.

    I am not a nutritionist or a scientist; I’m a Homeopath, but anyone can find this information by just looking a little more deeply.

  17. I stopped drinking milk when it became apparent that the bovine milk factories were doctoring their producers. The test should be not what harm will it to, but what good will it do!

  18. Did the researchers consider mother’s milk in their study? Or did they even ask the patients? If not, the authors did shoddy research and were too quick to publish.

  19. Mothers milk is the only milk humans should consume,I heard in India they have a hospital that specifically deals with milk diseases.Todays milk is also to processed before it hits the sore shelves and additives are introduced to the formula.

  20. Mothers milk is the only milk you should drink and than only to a certain age.

  21. Not to throw more confusion into the issue, but……………not mentioned by anyone is the fact that there are two types of cow’s milk. Milk from Holstein cows (Type A1) is different than milk from Guerneys cows (Type A2), specifically there is one amino acid difference in the casein molecule. Childhood Type 1 diabetes is 10X more prevalent in those who drink A2 milk than in those children who drink A1 milk. Coronary disease is also similarly linked to drinking A2 milk. I believe cancer may also be related to drinking one type of milk but not the other.

    BTW, the IGF-1/cancer link is a statistical association and does not prove causation. Cholesterol is statically associated with atherosclerosis, but its dietary intake has NEVER been shown to be caustive. Statin drugs have their tiny C-V mortality lowering benefits due to anti-inflammatory effects as measured by reduce hsCPR levels. The cholesterol lowering is a “side effect” which IMHO is unwanted and has no effect on the atherosclerosis process

    Likewise those who use HGH to raise their IGF-1 levels (which includes hundreds of growth hormone deficient children over the past 40 years who took HGH injections well as aging adults over the last 20 years) have not been found to have higher cancer rates compared to those who don’t use HGH. Blaming growth hormone in milk as the cause of cancer is not likely to be fruitful. ( I am NOT advocating the use of bovine growth hormone!……..I prefer raw milk and drank nothing but it for the first 20 years of my life).

    Randy Ice PT, CCS

    • I think Randy has confused the issue. He says: “Not to throw more confusion into the issue, but……………not mentioned by anyone is the fact that there are two types of cow’s milk.” He then states that A2 milk is linked to childhood diabetes and coronary hear disease whereas A1 milk is not.

      From my reading of the literature I concluded the opposite: It is A1 milk that is linked to childhood diabetes and coronary heart disease whereas A2 is not.

      My main reference is Keith Woodford, professor of farm management and agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand, and the author of a book on the subject, Devil in the Milk. Woodford believes that the A1 beta-casein triggers the inflammatory response in blood vessels, interferes with the immune system and causes excess mucus production. It also leads to a host of auto immune diseases, including type 1 diabetes.

      Randy could you check your references?

  22. I thought this was an interesting article as related to A1 and A2 discussion:

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