High intake of dairy products, especially milk, may increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer, a study shows.

The study, conducted in Montreal, Canada, and led by Parviz Ghadirian, PhD, of Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, compared 197 men with prostate cancer and an equal number of individually matched controls. The men filled out food frequency questionnaires in which they recorded the usual consumption frequency of more than 200 food items and the amounts consumed.

Compared with patients in the lowest quartile of dairy product consumption, those in the highest quartile had a significant twofold increased risk for prostate cancer, after adjusting for potential confounders, the researchers reported in The Prostate (2010;70:1054-1065).

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Milk was the only dairy product significantly associated with prostate cancer risk (a twofold increased risk). High intake of any other food categorie was not associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer. High intake of legumes, nuts, fish, and alpha-tocopherol was associated with a significantly decreased risk.

The investigators concluded that the study “supports the hypothesis that dairy products, especially milk, are involved in the etiology of prostate cancer.”