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Dairy Products and Cancer Risk in a Northern Sweden Population

Journal article
Authors L. M. Nilsson
Anna Winkvist
A. Esberg
J. H. Jansson
P. Wennberg
B. van Guelpen
I. Johansson
Published in Nutrition and Cancer-an International Journal
Volume 72
Issue 3
ISSN 0163-5581
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Language en
Keywords cardiovascular-disease, calcium intake, milk, metaanalysis, consumption, health, cohort, Oncology, Nutrition & Dietetics
Subject categories Nutrition and Dietetics


The role of dairy products in cancer is unclear. We assessed consumption of fermented milk, non-fermented milk, cheese, and butter, estimated from semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires, in relation to prospective risk of breast, prostate, colorectal, smoking-, and obesity-related cancers in 101,235 subjects, including 12,552 cancer cases, in the population-based Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study. Most analyses (n = 20) rendered null results. In men, we observed an increased prostate cancer risk among high-consumers of cheese (hazard ratio (HR) for highest vs. lowest quintile (Q5-Q1), 1.11; 95% CI, 0.97-1.27; P-trend = 0.013). In women, high-consumers of cheese had a decreased risk of overall cancer (HR Q5-Q1, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.88-1.04; P-trend = 0.039), smoking-related (HR Q5-Q1, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.72-0.97; P-trend <= 0.001), and colorectal cancers (HR Q5-Q1, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.63-1.07; P-trend = 0.048). Butter yielded a weak decreased obesity-related cancer risk in women (HR Q5-Q1, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.81-1.02; P-trend = 0.049). Fermented milk yielded HRs below zero in women, but with no clear linear associations. In conclusion, this study does not support any major adverse or beneficial effects of fermented milk, non-fermented milk, cheese, and butter in the diet from a cancer risk perspective.

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