Statement From The Dairy Council

Thanks for reaching out and providing us with the opportunity to comment, given its inaccuracy, on the article titled “Dairy, soy, and risk of breast cancer: those confounded milks” that was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Here are some important facts about consuming milk and dairy:

  • The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) shared its expert perspective in March of this year that countered this study on dairy and risk of breast cancer. AICR notes that the body of global evidence finds no link between dairy or milk and breast cancer risk.
  • Therefore, it is important for people to know that the overall body of evidence does not support a link between dairy milk or any other dairy food and breast cancer.
  • Furthermore, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AIRC) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), two other respected organizations that focus on research and communications in the field of nutrition, physical activity and cancer prevention, published in 2018 a report as part of the Continuous Update Project (CUP), that evaluated the scientific evidence on diet, nutrition, physical activity and cancer. Specific to dairy intake and breast cancer risk, the report stated: “1) Total dairy intake was not linked to total cancer risk; 2) total dairy intake was associated with lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer; and 3) diets high in calcium decrease the risk of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer.”

Additional resources and background:

  • This systematic review and meta-analysis showed that high and modest dairy consumption reduced the risk of breast cancer compared to low dairy consumption. Over 1.5M people from over 22 cohort studies were analyzed in this study. (2015)
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of 18 prospective studies involving 1,063,471 participants reported that increased dairy food intake was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer (Dong et al., Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2011). 
  • This paper showed no association between cheese and breast cancer risk. Cheese consumers actually had a decreased risk of overall cancer in women. (2019)
  • It would be important to note that Loma Linda University Health, the group that performed this study, serves the Seventh-day Adventist Church, members of which typically follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.

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