FACT NO. 1 - Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India.
FACT NO. 2 - India has the largest cattle population in the world
FACT NO. 3 - Over 68% of the milk in India found adulterated as per Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
Could increasing breast cancer have to do with the heavy dairy consumption pattern in India?
A common sight in India, is diseased udders and cows grazing on plastics. Could consuming adulterated and hormone infused milk lead to high incidence of breast cancer among Indian women?
A leading scientist, who has been fighting breast cancer since 1987, believes so as she says the disease is overwhelmingly linked to animal products.
“Cow’s milk [organic or otherwise] has been shown to contain 35 different hormones and 11 growth factors,” says Prof Plant. High circulating levels of one such growth factor in milk, called IGF-1, is now strongly linked to the development of many cancers. Research has also found that “unbound” IGF levels are lower in vegans than in both meat-eaters and other vegetarians. “This means that a vegan diet is lower in cancer-promoting molecules and higher in the binding proteins that reduce the action of these molecules,” she argues.
A second growth factor implicated in cancer spread is VEGF, found at high levels in cancer patients and a target for some newer anti-cancer drugs. Prof Plant points out that in the udders of cows with mastitis, VEGF is present to help fight infection. Mastitis is thought to affect nearly half of all cows in Britain. “There are increasing numbers of papers about high levels of VEGF in milk, particularly from high- yielding cattle breeds typical of modern industrialised dairy units.
“It seems likely that if a cancer patient is consuming dairy products, they are also consuming VEGF, especially if the milk originated from cows with mastitis. That is not helping to defeat their illness – and it may be making things worse.”
A second theory around diet concerns the levels of acid in our bodies. Prof Plant explains that if we consume too much acid-generating food, our bodies become acidic – an environment in which cancer cells can flourish. The foods highest in generating acid (not, as might be assumed, citrus fruit) include eggs, meat, fish and dairy – with cheese the most acid generating-food of all.
Milk has become part of junk food like ice creams, sweets, beverages, cheese. If we cannot avoid milk completely, at least we must reduce the avoidable items.