HomeHealth articlescancerCan Dairy Products Cause or Prevent Cancer?

Link Between Dairy Products and the Risk of Cancer

Verified dataVerified data

4 min read


Dairy products such as milk can cause cancer or prevent cancer. It is a debate and has been given on the topic with studies.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajesh Gulati

Published At May 2, 2023
Reviewed AtFebruary 16, 2024


There is no relevant and adequate information regarding dairy products that can cause cancer or prevent cancer. But it is commonly said that drinking milk reduces bowel cancer, but the statement still exists without proof. This topic describes that dairy products are the cause or prevention of cancers.

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is any abnormal cell growth that can occur in any tissue. It can spread easily and very quickly to other parts of the body. Cancer is the second most common cause of death nowadays. There are many different causes of cancer, mainly any change in the body that allows the rapid growth of cells. These include genes, habits, diet, age, family history, medical conditions, and environment. There are many types of cancer. Some of them are:

  • Prostate Cancer: Cancer involving the prostate gland present in men.

  • Breast Cancer: Cancer present in women involving the breast or mammary glands.

  • Colorectal Cancer: Cancers of the rectum, present lastly in the digestive tract.

  • Stomach Cancer: Cancer of the stomach is called stomach cancer.

What Does a Dairy Product Contain?

Dairy products are food products that include food items containing milk in them. Many food items fall under the category of dairy products, but mainly, there is cheese, milk, and yogurt, which are healthy ways of consuming dairy that are available in full-fat or low-fat versions.

Can a Dairy Product Reduce Bowel Cancers?

Dairy products contain nutrients like proteins and minerals, which are essential for the body's regular mechanisms. These dairy products contain calcium mainly. This calcium is important for strong bones and also reduces the chances of bowel cancer if it is present in normal amounts in the body. Also, if dairy substitute items like soy are taken, they are rich in calcium and vitamins like vitamin B12. Hence, these substitute items are also very healthy and work great for the body to maintain its health. So, a calcium-rich diet with good vitamins and minerals in the body reduces the effects of bowel cancer in the body. Although there are no adequate studies present to prove dairy products benefit bowel cancer and the digestive system.

Can Dairy Products Cause Other Cancers?

  • Prostate Cancer: The prostate gland is present in men below the urinary bladder. Prostate cancer can be caused by dairy products. There are very high chances of getting affected by cancer by having dairy products. Most of the observational studies performed till now have been saying that there is an increased risk of prostate cancer by consuming milk items daily. Although few studies say that calcium can not cause prostate cancer, some say it can. Some say that pregnant cow's milk contains estrogen, which can be a cause of prostate cancer. Still, no proper evidence has been presented to prove the theory behind prostate cancer, but most studies have shown increased chances of getting prostate cancer by eating dairy products.

  • Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is commonly seen in women nowadays. There is no adequate data presented regarding the incidence of breast cancer from dairy products. Hence, it is mostly seen that dairy products have protective effects against breast cancers. At the same time, some studies have figured out that there are increased chances of breast cancer.

  • Stomach Cancers: Stomach cancers are also seen as the fourth most common cancers. Some studies say that there is no association between milk products and stomach cancers, but some studies have provided that milk containing insulin-like growth hormone can increase the chances of getting stomach cancers. As cow milk is mainly from the feed it takes, when the pastured cow has a bracken fern, this fern contains few components that can lead to stomach cancer.

How Does Dairy Affect Cancer Differently?

Diary is a complex food that needs lactose to get digested as it is an inflammatory food. For people who have lactose intolerance, consuming dairy products may cause bloating, cramping, diarrhea, joint pain, and sickness.

In such cases, fermented dairy products like kefir or yogurt, which are highly beneficial for the gut microbiota, can be taken. So, they are called healthier dairy products.

How to Maintain Dairy Products in a Balanced Diet?

Dairy products are rich sources of calcium, other minerals, and proteins. So, it is recommended to have a dairy product to maintain a balanced diet. Going for a low-sugar, low-fat diet is a healthy diet and decreases the risk of cancer. If someone avoids dairy items, then they should go for dairy substitutes like soya milk to complete the daily requirement of calcium in the body. To complete their daily diary requirements, people should go for low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, and a small piece of cheese. These dairy products, in balanced amounts, will provide all their benefits and reduce the risk of cancer's prevalence.

What Are the Resultant Points After the Studies of Dairy Products?

Some of the important points about it are:

  • These dairy products are complex foods that vary from region to region, and these complex items make it difficult to associate them with cancer risk.

  • The studies performed on the cancer risk from dairy products were under a very small number and hence, the data was not adequate and even lacking.

  • Other forms of dairy products have not been evaluated in the studies.

  • The live microbes in dairy products have shown an influence on the gut and the immunity of the people requires complete acknowledgment.

  • The association of cancers like bladder cancer has shown a risk due to milk intake, and the risk of prostate cancer has also shown its prevalence due to high calcium intake.


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death nowadays. It can be due to any cause, like diet, habit, environment, genes, etc., but some studies have linked dairy products with the prevalence of cancers. Dairy products are high in calcium and proteins. So, these high levels of calcium can lead to an increased risk of cancer. However, some studies have contradicted the previous and have provided the protective effects of dairy products instead of cancer. No studies have fully equipped evidence and proof to state their theory. Hence, it is recommended to have dairy products in a regular diet to maintain a balanced diet. A dairy diet low in fat and sugar with a small amount of cheese is adequate to fill the body's required diet.

Dr. Rajesh Gulati
Dr. Rajesh Gulati

Family Physician


cancerdairy products
Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on


Ask a doctor online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy