The Link Between Dairy Products and Cancer and Obesity

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The Link Between Dairy Products and Cancer (and Obesity)

I first became aware of the link between dairy and cancer when I was reading Professor Jane Plant’s book “Your Life In Your Hands” (for access see my page, Recommended Reading).  Professor Plant is a breast cancer survivor herself (she had it several times) and has this to say about dairy and cancer:

“…cow’s milk, although an ideal food for young bovines, is far from ideal for adult humans.  But how could dairy products be linked to breast and prostate cancer?  I believe that the evidence suggests that consuming dairy products (milk and meat), including low fat products such as yoghurt, does indeed increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer in exposed populations.  When I eliminated all dairy products from my diet, a large ‘secondary’ tumor  comprising cancer cells in the lymph nodes in my neck, which was thought to be incurable, disappeared in weeks.  For me, this is pretty compelling evidence.”

(Prof J Plant, “Your Life In Your Hands”, Virgin Publishing Ltd, 2000, p. 92).

Insulin-Like Growth Factors and Growth Hormones

There are powerful chemicals in cow’s milk known as growth factors.  One particular growth factor, IGF-1 (stands for insulin-like growth factor), causes cells to increase in size and promotes cell proliferation.  Baby bovines need this.  Human adults do not, particularly if they are already battling cancer.

To further muddy the waters (or the milk),  farmers have taken to using a synthetic bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to keep up with the demand for dairy products.  The effect of rBGH on lactating cows is to increase their secretions, blood flow, nutrient uptake and milk synthesis.

What rBGH does in humans is still being studied but as early as 1985 scientists reported changes in the proportion of the natural fatty acids found in milk. What they do know is that rBGH releases extra quantities of IG-F which, as previously noted, causes an increase in size of cells and proliferation and you don’t want this happening if you’re actively fighting cancer.

The bottom line is, if you have cancer you really should avoid dairy products completely.  For this society, it’s a hard thing to do.  I know, because I’ve tried it.  Now that I’m cancer free I allow myself small quantities of organic cheeses and occasionally organic sour cream.  There’s a great substitute for ice cream – totally non-dairy – made from organic coconut milk.  I also highly recommend replacing cow’s milk with a combination of almond and coconut milks.  It’s quite palatable!  Give it a try.


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