Letter: Cutting the risk of breast cancer

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Sir: You report research in Finland which suggests that milk may protect women against breast cancer ("Milk may help ward off cancer", 11 March). Taken in isolation, this finding will send a wrong signal to the public.

Milk and its derivatives do contain an essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, which is protective against cancer, but these foods also contain high levels of unhealthy (saturated) fats which are strongly associated with risk of cancer and heart disease. Regular consumption of animal fats has been shown to greatly increase the risk of breast cancer and of heart disease.

Women who are concerned to ward off breast cancer would be better advised to include in their diet fish oils, linseed oil or evening primrose oil, all of which contain not only linoleic acid,the protective substance in milk, but also other nutrients which provide, safely, a degree of protection against cancer.

Dr Rosy Daniel


Bristol Cancer Help Centre