Research reported in July issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that consuming plenty of low-fat, calcium-rich dairy foods may help lower the risk of ovarian cancer for women of all ethnic groups.
Researchers found that women who consumed the most dairy products overall, including low-fat and skim milk, were 54% less likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than those in the study who consumed the least dairy food.

Although more research is needed to identify the specific components in dairy foods that provide the benefit, the research does suggest a link between consuming low-fat milk, calcium, or lactose and a reduction in the risk for ovarian cancer.

Previous research results on a possible link between dairy foods and reduced risk for ovarian cancer have been mixed. To investigate, University of Hawaii and University of Southern California researchers interviewed 1165 women — 558 had ovarian cancer — about their eating and lifestyle habits, use of hormones, and reproductive and medical history. The trend was very clear: women who consumed the most dairy products — including low-fat and skim milk — were the least likely in the group to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Drinking whole milk was not associated with a lower risk. In addition, researchers found no relationship between eating yogurt, cheese or ice cream and a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer.

Higher intakes of calcium and lactose also appeared to lower ovarian cancer risk. If these preliminary findings are confirmed in other studies, it could give women a tool to help reduce their risk from ovarian cancer.

Reuters Health