Ovarian cancer affects about one in every 72 women in the United States, according to the National Women’s Health Information Center. Although women over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk for ovarian cancer, it can affect women of all ages. For years, diet was thought to play no role in the development of this form of cancer. However, several studies have shown that the type of milk that you drink may determine your ovarian cancer risk.
Cow Milk May Increase the Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Research has shown that women who drink two or more glasses of milk a day are 44% more likely to get ovarian cancer than those who do not, according to WebMD. Since over half of the women who participated in the study drank skim or low-fat milk, it is important to note that the fat in milk is not thought to be responsible for the increased risk.
Milk sugar, which is generally referred to as lactose, is believed to be the reason why there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer among milk drinkers, according to WebMD. Lactose is in every form of milk, including skim milk and low-fat milk. One of its sugar components, called galactose, can even be found in lactose-free milk, which means that this alternative will not reduce the risk of cancer from milk.
Reduced Risk of Ovarian Cancer with Soy Milk
Soy milk is a good alternative to cow milk because it does not contain any form of lactose, including galactose. This is one of the reasons why it is thought to be a healthier option for women who wish to prevent ovarian cancer. However, this is not the only reason soy milk is thought to be a beneficial alternative.
Glyceollin, which is a compound that’s found in soy, has been linked to fighting off both ovarian cancer and breast cancer, according to Tulane University. One study showed that glyceollin prevented the growth of already existing tumors by not allowing them to be affected by estrogen.
When deciding on what type of milk to drink, the best thing that a woman can do is talk to her doctor. Soy milk and almond milk are both thought to be healthy alternatives to cow milk. Both offer calcium, which is important for preventing osteoporosis in women of all ages. Women who are planning to drink fewer glasses of milk a day to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer should talk to their doctor about taking a daily calcium supplement.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only. Anyone who is concerned about their health should speak to a licensed health care professional.
National Women’s Health Information Center