Calcium link to prostate cancer risk, study

By Philippa Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Prostate cancer

Too much milk and cheese appears to increase the risk of prostate
cancer in male smokers, say researchers from the US National Cancer

After examining data from the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene (ATBC) Cancer Prevention Study, Panagiota Mitrou and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland concluded that there was a link between calcium consumption and prostate cancer risk. "We found a strong, graded, positive association between calcium intake and total prostate cancer risk,"​ said the researchers. They claimed that after adjusting the data for potentially influential variables, the risk of prostate cancer was 63 per cent greater for people who consumed 2,000 milligrams per day or more of calcium compared with those who consumed less than 1,000 milligrams per day. Prostate cancer is becoming ever more common worldwide; the incidence of the disease has increased by 1.7 per cent over the last 15 years and over half a million new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year. This form of cancer is now the direct cause of over 200,000 deaths a year. The ATBC study examined the eating habits of 27,028 Finnish male smokers between the ages of 50 and 69 years old. During 17 years of follow-up, the team identified 1,267 cases of prostate cancer. The researchers said that a positive association was also observed between total dairy intake and prostate cancer risk, but that this disappeared after eliminating the influence of calcium. Prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening, a marker for prostate cancer, is still not widely in use in Finland, added Mitrou and his team. "Therefore, a large proportion of cases in our study were detected as a result of clinical symptoms,"​ they explained. "This lessens the possibility that our results are influenced by detection bias."​ Calcium is reported to be the biggest seller in the US supplements industry, with annual sales amounting to about $993m (€836m) in 2004, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Source: International Journal of Cancer "A prospective study of dietary calcium, dairy products and prostate cancer risk (Finland)"​ 1 June 2007, Volume 120, Issue 11, Pages: 2466-2473 Authors: P. Mitrou, D. Albanes, S. Weinstein, P. Pietinen, P. Taylor, J. Virtamo, M. Leitzmann

Related topics: Science, Dairy-based ingredients

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