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Two or More Daily Glasses of Milk May Raise Ovarian Cancer Risks

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Asked if countries with a high consumption of dairy products have higher ovarian cancer rates, Fairfield says "they do, and the reverse is true as well: Low consumption of dairy products correlates to low rates of ovarian cancer."

This report, discussed at a meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine here, follows another one last month by a different team of Harvard researchers who have been studying physicians. Scientists from the Physician's Health Study said that men who consumed more than 2.5 servings of dairy products daily had a slight increase in risk of prostate cancer. That study was presented by June M. Chan, ScD, a colleague of Fairfield.

Asked by WebMD about the common theme, Fairfield says: "It is true that there seems to be something happening with dairy products, but that study suggests a role for calcium. That is not our finding with ovarian cancer."

  • New research shows that women who drink two or more glasses of milk per day may have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Researchers suggest it's not the fat or the calcium, but the lactose, which breaks down in the body into glucose and galactose, that may be responsible for the increased risk.
  • It is not clear how these study results will affect dietary recommendations, as women are now advised to consume dairy products to prevent osteoporosis.
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