Drinking low-fat or nonfat milk may increase the risk of the disease, according to two studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
In the first study, 82,483 men between the ages of 45 and 75 completed food frequency questionnaires. Other prostate cancer risk factors - body weight, smoking status, and education levels - were also noted.
Low-fat or nonfat milk were found to increase the risk of certain types of tumors associated with prostate cancer. Meanwhile, whole milk was found to decrease risk of this malignancy.
In a similar study from the National Cancer Institute, data from 293,888 men were analyzed for the relationship between calcium and vitamin D intake and prostate cancer risk.
These researchers found no link between calcium intake and incidence of non-fatal prostate cancer. However, skim milk was associated with prostate cancer deaths.
Calcium from non-dairy foods - soy milk, tofu, almonds, broccoli, white beans, and canned salmon with bones - was found to reduced the risk of prostate cancer.
Calcium and vitamin D appear to have little or no impact on the risk of prostate cancer but some scientists believe calcium and dairy products may increase the risk of prostate cancer by affecting vitamin D metabolism. This theory, however, needs further investigation.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an average of 83 men will die of prostate cancer every week.
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