- Question from Devon: Are dairy products safe?
“Safe” is an interesting way of asking. It's somewhat of a mixed bag when it comes to fighting cancer. About dairy products, there was an interested study in The Lancet that showed that premenopausal women who had a small increase in insulin growth factor (IGF1) had up to 7 times the breast cancer risk of women with lower levels. The reason I bring that up is there was a study of dairy benefits showing insulin growth factor can possibly increase breast cancer. The casein in dairy can increase IGF.
There are some wonderful aspects of dairy we applaud—calcium is necessary to fight osteoporosis, so it's about calcium balance. We also know that dairy contains CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, which is a good transfat that may fight breast cancer, and whey protein which may have profound benefits. (By the way, the “runny” part of cottage cheese is whey and the chunky part is the “curds.”) But because of the IGF, we don't promote dairy for people with breast cancer.
- Penny Block IGF1 is not a chemical that's added by the dairy industry. It's a component of cow's milk, but it can contribute to the growth of breast cancer cells.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Buying Healthy Food and Drink featured Penny B. Block, M.A., David W. Grotto, R.D., L.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about finding, buying, and preparing the healthiest food and drink for people with breast cancer and their families.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2005.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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