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I have heard that milk can cause cancer. Should I remove dairy foods from my diet?

To date, no evidence exists to support a harmful role for milk and dairy produce when taken in moderate amounts and as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Milk is a good source of protein and contains a wide range of important vitamins and minerals.  It is also a rich source of calcium, important for healthy bones, muscle function and blood clotting. 

Research does not support a relationship between milk, or milk products, and cancers of the breast, lung, stomach or pancreas.  In fact milk, particularly whole milk, has been shown to protect against certain cancers, reducing the risk of colon and colorectal cancer. This is due to a powerful anti-cancer substance, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) contained within whole milk.   

Low fat milk and fermented or cultured milk products, such as yoghurt and some cheeses, have been associated with a reduced risk of bladder cancer.  However, some studies suggest that low fat milk, (but not whole milk), may contribute towards a small increased risk of prostate cancers.  This is linked to very high calcium intakes (>2000mg/d), the equivalent of drinking more than 3 ½ pints of milk daily. 

It is therefore safe to include dairy and milk products in your diet.