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Milk and Breast Cancer Link

Updated on November 18, 2015

One scientist battles breast cancer

There is some evidence dairy products may contribute to cancer. One study found increased survival in breast cancer patients who didn't drink milk.


The story of Dr. Jane Plant, PhD. has appeared across the Internet. Women around the world can now read how she managed to escape a virtual death sentence.

In 1993, she was battling cancer. This was her fifth round with the disease and it clearly winning.

The cancer was spreading and a large tumor had appeared in her neck. Her oncologist thought she had only a couple months to live.

Fighting for her life, with two young children she didn't want to leave behind, Dr. Plant began to ponder why Chinese women didn't develop breast cancer at the same rate as women in the West. Except, that is, when they move from mainland China and begin eating Western food.

What was it about the Chinese lifestyle and culture that offered protection against breast cancer?

Dr. Plant, who lives in the United Kingdom, needed to find the answer to this question, and she needed to find it quickly, as her time on this earth appeared to be running out.

Milk and breast cancer risk
Milk and breast cancer risk | Source

Two Scientific Minds, Working Together

A geo-chemist, Dr. Plant and her husband, also a scientist, believe they found the answer just in time.

Both were somewhat familiar with the typical Chinese diet. Dr. Plant's husband had worked in China, and she had met visiting Chinese scientists while working on a project.

This gave them something to go on. With their analytic minds, the husband and wife team hit upon a very lucky fact. Dairy products are generally not consumed as part of the traditional Chinese diet. The couple hypothesized that this is probably the reason breast cancer rarely strikes in strikes in China.

So Dr. Plant quickly adopted a dairy-free diet. Very quickly, the large tumor in her neck began to shrivel and then disappear. She's had no recurrence of the cancer, despite the fact more than two decades have passed since her original diagnosis.

Now she counsels other patients about the yet unproven, but compelling, link between milk and breast cancer. It's also been reported that she also steers clear of food products packaged in plastic, to avoid leaching from chemicals known to be endocrine disruptors, such as phthalates. (These chemicals are also found in many cosmetics.)

An epidemic of breast cancer in the West

One in eight women in the United States will eventually develop breast cancer, which carries an annual death toll of 40,000, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2011, about 240,000 women were diagnosed with the disease.

Standard treatments include disfiguring surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The disease often returns and when that happens it's usually resistant to conventional therapies. An honest oncologist will tell you that chemotherapy, given at this point, is only done with the intention of easing symptoms and possibly buying a little more time, but even this is debatable. Chemotherapy will not cure metastatic breast cancer.

If dairy plays a role, and not drinking milk or eating cheese can save your life, it's hard to imagine someone battling breast cancer would not want to know about Dr. Plant's story.

Her account is backed up by The China Study, a landmark look into the lives of 50 rural Chinese families. Conducted in 1983, the study examined the health and eating habits of these families.

The authors now believe the lower incidence of breast cancer found in China is because women there eat less overall animal fat, including milk, Such a diet would mean lower levels of excess estrogen in their blood.

Yogurt may not be so healthy.
Yogurt may not be so healthy. | Source

DVD About the Health Hazards of Milk

Other research looks at milk and breast cancer

Dr. Plant is not the only voice pointing out the possible link between milk and breast cancer. A Kaiser Permanente Research study of 1,500 breast cancer patients found that those who consumed milk were 50 percent more likely to succumb to the disease than patients who stayed away from dairy.

A 2009 study published in the Dermato-Endocrinology journal concluded that acne, breast cancer and prostate cancer are linked to consumption of dairy products. The authors said this increased incidence is probably caused by Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) present in milk.

This protein is needed to make the body run smoothly. However, it also fosters growth of cells, including cancer cells. Glands that are sensitive and receptive to IGF-1 include the breast and prostate.

There is also concern that IGF-1 may increase with the addition of bovine growth hormones to the US milk supply may raise the amount of this protein in cow's milk. These hormones are not added to milk sold in the European Union.

On his website, integrative medical practitioner Dr. Andrew Weil, MD says there may be a link between milk and breast cancer, but results are not conclusive. However, he advises people with certain medical conditions, such as asthma and autoimmune disease, to think about staying away from milk.

Dr. Weil recommends only drinking organic milk, which doesn't contain added hormones, and also decreasing one's intake of diary.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition. This article is only intended for information, and not medical or dietary advice. People with health or dietary concerns should discuss them with a medical professional.


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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    A question I have is: Would these cancers occur if people drank milk from cows raised on the range--i.e., with diets that don't include hormones and chemical substances? For centuries, people from many cultures drank cow's milk or ate dairy products without a spike in cancer-related deaths. Thanks for this informative article!

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    That's a really good question that I don't have the answer to. Dr. Plant lives in Great Britain, where there is no bovine growth hormone. There is also the issue of antibiotics in milk.

    I know there are some cultures that eat yogurt and they live a long time. But I think they also eat a lot of seeds, so that might offer protection. But I don't know. I'm happy Dr. Plant was able to recover from her "terminal" cancer.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Just a thought: No cancer is terminal, attitudes are.

    I think that some foods that are good for some are bad for others. I strongly believe in watching our cravings. I have two levels, one like an addiction and the other --- stuff I need. Addictions rule when I am not centered and peaceful, the need one wins when I am in a good space.

    This article was just outstanding and presented even better than the rich information it possesses. My O is on a role and people will live because of it. Angels are sometime just like O.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Eric,

    You are so right. Only attitudes are terminal. My mother always says, "Where there's life, there's hope."

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    And hope is life. I like it here at Ologsinquito. Good things to help good people.

  • FullOfLoveSites profile image

    FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

    Very interesting story... and besides I haven't heard any great breast cancer statistics in China (at least as far as I'm concerned). So it might be true. Thanks for posting. :)

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi FullofLoveSites,

    Thank you for visiting.

  • profile image

    Nalliah Thayabharan 2 years ago

    Renin and lactase are enzymes necessary to break down and digest milk. They are all but gone by the age of 3 in most us. There is an element in all milk known as casein. There is 300 time more casein in cow’s milk than in human’s milk. That’s for the development of huge bones. Casein coagulates in the stomach and forms large, tough, dense, difficult-to-digest curds that are adapted to the four-stomach digestive apparatus of a cow. Once inside human digestive system, this thick mass of goo puts a tremendous burden on the body to somehow get rid of it. In other words, a huge amount of energy must be spent in dealing with it. Unfortunately some of this gooey substance hardens and adheres to the lining of the intestines and prevents the absorption of nutrients into the body. Also the by-products of milk digestion leave a great deal of toxic mucus in the body. It’s very acidic, and some of it is stored in the body until it can be dealt with at a later time. Dairy products cause more weight gain instead of weight loss. Casein, by the way, is the base of one of the strongest glues used in woodworking.

    Proteins are delicate necklaces, composed of different colored beads called amino acids, which occupy assigned places in a string that is the protein. When digestive acids and enzymes break down proteins, the amino acids are used as building blocks for the body’s new proteins. When an intact protein is delivered from one part of the body to another, it conveys an unbroken and uninterrupted message. Milk from one mammalian species to its young is the perfectly designed mechanism that delivers lactoferrins and immunoglobulins to that happily receptive infant. Nature’s way is to produce many more proteins than are required. The wisdom of this mechanism takes into account mass destruction. Enough protein messengers survive to exert their intended effects.

    In homogenized milk, an excess of proteins survive digestion. Simple proteins rarely survive digestion in a balanced world. When milk is homogenized, it passes through a fine filter at pressures equal to 4,000 psi, and in so doing, the fat globules (liposomes) are made smaller (micronized) by a factor of ten times or more. These fat molecules become evenly dispersed within the liquid milk.

    Milk is a hormonal delivery system. With homogenization, milk becomes a very powerful and efficient way of bypassing normal digestive processes and delivering steroid and protein hormones to the human body (both the cow’s natural hormones and the ones they were injected with to produce more milk). Through homogenization, fat molecules in milk become smaller and become “capsules” for substances that bypass digestion. Proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach or gut are not broken down, and are absorbed into the bloodstream.

    The homogenization process breaks up an enzyme in milk (xanthine oxidase), which in its altered (smaller) state can enter the bloodstream and react against arterial walls causing the body to protect the area with a layer of cholesterol. These micronized fat globules are much “sharper” than their larger forebearers, and serve to abrade arterial lumen (the innermost linings of these blood vessels). Such chronic irritation triggers a protective mechanism whereby the body plates out cholesterol onto the lumen to protect it from the constant irritation produced by the micronized fat globules. The end result is atherosclerotic plaquing.

    Combined with two other phenomena of our culture – high level consumption of hydrogenized vegetable oils (another source of this intra-lumen plaque) plus the onslaught of refined sugars and flours (which trigger high level bursts of another potent intra-luminal irritant known as insulin) – this unavoidable side-effect of drinking homogenized milk produces the rapid acceleration of cardiovascular disease now routinely seen in young people.

    In theory, proteins are easily broken down by digestive processes. In reality, homogenization insures their survival so that they enter the bloodstream and deliver their messages. Often, the body reacts to foreign proteins by producing histamines, then mucus. And since cow’s milk proteins can resemble a human protein, they can become triggers for autoimmune diseases. Diabetes and multiple sclerosis are two such examples. The rarest of nature’s quirks results after humans consume homogenized cow’s milk. Nature has the best sense of humor, and always finds a way to add exclamation marks to man’s best-punctuated sentences. One milk hormone, the most powerful growth factor in a cow’s body, is identical to the most powerful growth factor in the human body. Hormones make cells grow, and don’t differentiate between normal cells and cancerous cells. We’re not designed to intake hormones; we make all the ones we need.

    Some doctors who believe that milk proteins cannot possibly survive digestion. They are wrong. The Connecticut cardiologists Oster & Ross discovered that Bovine Xanthene Oxidase (BXO) survived long enough to compromise every one of three hundred heart attack victims over a five-year period. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) had not been discovered when Oster and Ross made their magnificent observations and conclusions. Bovine Xanthene Oxidase did not set the scientific community on fire. Too many syllables for headline writers. Insulin-like growth factor presents the same problem. Cancer has just two syllables. IGF-I has been identified as the key factor in the growth of every human cancer.

    Homogenized milk, with its added hormones, is rocket fuel for cancer. One day, hopefully, the world will recognize that cow’s milk was never intended for human consumption. We can get all the calcium we need from a healthy, balanced plant-based diet. What we don’t need is all the degenerative disease that dairy products contribute to.

    And if you think that raw, un-pasteurized, un-homogenized milk is a wholesome food, think about this: Even raw un-pasturized cow milk was never a healthful food for humans. It’s only a proper food for baby cows, and even they quit drinking it when they mature. Humans are the only species that “sucks the teats” of other species. Humans’ best food for the first 2 to 4 years is human milk, and after that, even human milk is not proper human food. Plus, the calcium in milk is not well absorbed due to the lack of magnesium, and even when raw, it still contributes to osteoporosis. And even the naturally occurring hormones in milk from cow’s not treated with Bovine Growth Hormone still contribute to cancers.

    Prostate cancer is the fourth most common malignancy among men worldwide and its incidence and mortality have been associated with milk and other dairy product consumption according to the international and interregional correlational studies. Also high intakes of lactose and dairy products, particularly milk, are associated with an increased risk of serous ovarian cancer.

    IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor 1 is an important hormone that is produced in the liver and body tissues. It is a polypeptide and consists of 70 amino acids linked together. All mammals produce IGF-1 molecules very similar in structure and human and bovine IGF-1 are completely identical. IGF-1 acquired its name because it has insulin-like activity in fat (adipose) tissue and has a structure that is very similar to that of proinsulin. The body’s production of IGF-1 is regulated by the human growth hormone and peaks at puberty. IGF-1 production declines with age and is only about half the adult value at the age of 70 years. IGF-1 is a very powerful hormone that has profound effects even though its concentration in the blood serum is only about 200 ng/mL or 0.2 millionth of a gram per mL.

    IGF-1 is known to stimulate the growth of both normal and cancerous cells. In 1990 researchers at Stanford University reported that IGF-1 promotes the growth of prostate cells. This was followed by the discovery that IGF-1 accelerates the growth of breast cancer cells. In 1995 researchers at the National Institutes of Health reported that IGF-1 plays a central role in the progression

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 19 months ago from USA

    Sophia, thank you for writing. I need to delete your comment because it includes an email address.

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