Milk, dairy food, calcium and fats: What does it happen before and after colorectal cancer development?

Daniela Barone, Antonella Penon, Antonio Giordano, Letizia Cito


The role of milk and dairy products in cancer prevention was debated for a long time. In some cases they seem to promote some hormones related neoplastic pathologies. Yet, as we here describe, milk and dairy products may be helpful in colorectal cancer prevention, because of their calcium content, showing the capability of inactivating bile acids. Fats seem not to be relevant. In fact, although animal fats generally exert a pro-neoplastic effects, recent findings demonstrated that milk and dairy foods preventive role of colorectal cancer is not affected by their fat content. IGF-1, which was similarly considered a pro-carcinogenic factor, was “exonerated” more than ten years ago, because different authors showed that its effects are not influential in people. Previous investigations led to consider IGF-1 as the principal cause of colorectal cancer, and it was just around the year 2000 that epidemiological studies refuted the pre-existing hypothesis about IGF-1. Hence, milk and dairy products may be advisable, not only because of their nutritional value, but also because of their preventive effect of colorectal cancer. Moreover, their consumption should be encouraged also in cancer patients, because their energy content, together with their micro- and macronutrients, may represent a good eating habit against cachexia. Yet, a special care should be taken with patients developing lactose intolerance and hypolactasia, a possible side effect of 5’FU chemotherapy. Finally, we have to stress that a further care should be taken about cheeses consumption. Their energy density and their saturated fatty acids content is not relevant in predisposing to colorectal cancer, but an excessive intake should be avoided not to develop either overweight/obesity, or hypercholesterolemia.


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Journal of Solid Tumors

ISSN 1925-4067(Print)   ISSN 1925-4075(Online)

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