Consuming cultured milk products may decrease the risk of bladder cancer, according to Swedish researchers.

In a prospective population-based study, Susanna Larsson, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and her colleagues examined the association between dairy-food intake and bladder cancer risk in 82,002 men and women who did not have cancer and had completed a 96-item food-frequency questionnaire in 1997. During a mean follow-up of 9.4 years, 485 subjects were diagnosed with bladder cancer.

The investigators observed no association between total dairy intake and bladder cancer but did find a significant inverse association between bladder cancer and cultured milk (sour milk and yogurt).

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Compared with subjects in the lowest category of cultured milk consumption (no servings per day), those in the highest category (two or more servings per day) had a significant 38% reduced risk of bladder cancer, according to a report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008;88:1083-1087). [Editors note: abstract only; subscription required for full text article]

The study found no association between noncultured milk or cheese consumption and bladder cancer risk.