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Breast cancer and diet

High saturated fat content in meat & dairy products, lead to an increase in hormone production that promote growth of cancerous cells. In addition, milk contains IGF1 and estrogen hormones that are directly associated breast cancer.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a kind of cancer that develops from breast cells. Breast cancer usually starts off in the inner linings of milk ducts (ductal carcinoma) or the lobules that supply them with milk (lobular carcinoma). Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst women, and account for as much as 18% of all cancer related deaths globally (both men and women).

Breast cancer and diet

The high fat content of meat & dairy products, lead to an increase in hormone production and increased risk of breast and other hormonal cancers.

Additionally, a lifetime exposure to high levels of estrogen (female sexual steroidal hormones) is a causal pathway to breast cancer. Estrogen levels are elevated in all dairy products, since milk can only come from pregnant cows. Milk also boosts the amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) in the blood, that has been shown to promote breast cancer. Further, certain contaminations in milk, such as pesticides, are known to be potentially carcinogenic.

A vegan diet (vegetarian diet with no animal milk products) comprising high fiber goods such as grains, vegetables and fruits offer a measure of protection against breast cancer. Fibre greatly speeds the passage of food through the colon (effectively removing carcinogens), while also changing the type of bacteria present in the intestine reducing the production of carcinogenic secondary bile acids. Plant based foods are also naturally low in fat and rich in antioxidants and other anti-cancer compounds.

Scientific evidence: Breast cancer and diet

Research that has been conducted on the linkage between meat, dairy and breast cancer have found

  • Higher risks of developing breast cancer for consumers of meat & dairy products
  • Direct linkages between dietary fat intake and tumor size and risk of death
  • Reducing fat intake (through a vegan diet) represents a promising new approach to improve outcome for patients with breast cancer

Details of the same (including the research methodology, key findings and a link to the original study) are available in the resource tab below.