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Roswell Park study links yogurt to cancer risk drop

High consumption of yogurt is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer while higher intake of some cheeses appears to be tied to slightly increased risk, according to researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Risk varies by the source of the dairy product, according to a study published online ahead of print in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition.

Roswell researchers reported that while high overall consumption of dairy products, in particular of yogurt, is linked to a lower risk for breast cancer, high intake of American, cheddar and cream cheeses was associated with a slightly increased risk.

“This study of the differences among women and their consumption of dairy products offers significant new understanding into the potential risk factors associated with breast cancer,” said senior author Christine Ambrosone, senior vice president for Population Sciences and chairwoman of the Roswell Department of Cancer Prevention and Control. “While diet is thought to be responsible for 30 percent of all cancers, we hope that further research will help us to more fully understand which food products are most valuable in terms of reducing risk for this disease.”

The case-control study examined the association between the types and quantity of dairy foods consumed among 1,941 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,237 control participants in the Roswell Park Data Bank and BioRepository between 2003 and 2014. A self-administered food frequency questionnaire was used. Participants were grouped into monthly intakes of total dairy, milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese, other cheese and sweet dairy products.

The study adjusted for age, race, body-mass index, menopausal status, energy intake, type of milk usually consumed, cigarette smoking status and family history of breast cancer.

The research was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Cancer Institute.

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