Breast cancer: is milk a risk factor?

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The studies could only conclude that there was an association between milk consumption and breast cancer – they could not prove that drinking milk caused cancer. Shutterstock

(Richard Hoffman/ The Conversation) — Breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most commonly diagnosed cancer, and as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women in many countries.

While genetics can certainly increase risk of the disease, for most women lifestyle factors, such as alcohol or being overweight or obese, are bigger influences on developing breast cancer. Now, two separate studies, both published in 2020, have identified cow’s milk as another possible risk factor for breast cancer.

The first study, which looked at 33,780 Swedish women since 1997, found that about 300 millilitres of cow’s milk per day (the equivalent of a large mug) increased breast cancer risk by about a third compared to women who did not drink milk. (…)

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