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Nutrients. 2019 Dec 21;12(1). pii: E32. doi: 10.3390/nu12010032.

Milk Consumption Decreases Risk for Breast Cancer in Korean Women under 50 Years of Age: Results from the Health Examinees Study.

Shin WK1, Lee HW1,2, Shin A1,3, Lee JK4, Kang D1,2,3.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Seoul National University Graduate School, Seoul 03080, Korea.
Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul 03080, Korea.
Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 03080, Korea.


Epidemiologic studies regarding breast cancer risk related to milk consumption remain controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between milk consumption and the risk for breast cancer. A total of 93,306 participants, aged 40-69 years, were included in the prospective cohort study in the Health Examinees-Gem (HEXA-G) study between 2004 and 2013. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Information on cancer diagnosis in the eligible cohort was retrieved from the Korea Central Cancer Registry through 31 December 2014. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate multivariate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A total of 359 breast cancer cases were observed over a median follow-up period of 6.3 years. Milk consumption was not associated with decreased risk for breast cancer in the total population (p for trend = 0.0687). In women under 50 years of age, however, milk consumption was inversely associated with breast cancer risk. In the comparison between highest (≥1 serving/day) and lowest (<1 serving/week) intake categories of milk, the multivariate HR (95% CI) was 0.58 (0.35-0.97, p for trend = 0.0195)) among women under 50 years of age. In conclusion, our findings show that milk consumption in Korean women aged 50 or younger is associated with a decreased risk for breast cancer, when compared to those who never or rarely consumed milk. Further studies need to be conducted to assess this relationship and confirm these results.


Health Examinees (HEXA) study; Korean women; breast cancer; cohort study; milk consumption

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