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High-fat Dairy May Pose Risks to Breast Cancer Survival

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High-fat Dairy May Pose Risks to Breast Cancer Survival

High-fat dairy products are generally not recommended in a healthy diet, but new research shows that there may be specific risks associated with people who have breast cancer.

A recent study has identified that consuming high-fat dairy products following breast cancer diagnosis may increase chances of dying from the disease later on.

Researchers began studying a cohort of 1,893 women who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1997 and 2000. The women typically entered the cohort two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Researchers tracked the consumption of high-fat dairy products within the cohort by administering a food-frequency questionnaire at the beginning of the study and then at six years. Members of the cohort were also tracked for an average of 12 years following the initial study. The researchers looked at high-fat dairy products such as cream, whole milk, condensed or evaporated milk, pudding, ice cream, custard, flan, cheeses, and yogurts.

The study showed that those consuming one or more servings of high-fat dairy per day had a higher risk of mortality. Specifically, researchers reported a 64 percent increased risk in dying from any cause and a 49 percent increased risk of dying from breast cancer.

While there was an association between high-fat dairy and mortality, there was no correlation between low-fat dairy and death related to cancer.

“High-fat dairy is generally not recommended as part of a healthy diet,” said senior author Bette J. Caan, DrPH, research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. “Switching to low-fat dairy is an easy thing to modify.”

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