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Non-Dairy Calcium May Up Risk of Prostate Cancer

In Chinese men, higher intake linked to higher risk, especially among those with low BMI

TUESDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Calcium intake, even from non-dairy sources and at relatively low levels, may put Chinese men, particularly those with a low body mass index, at increased risk of prostate cancer, according to research published online June 1 in Cancer Research.

Lesley M. Butler, Ph.D., of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and colleagues reviewed data on 27,293 Chinese men aged 45 to 74 years from the Singapore Chinese Health Study. The researchers evaluated whether dietary calcium increased prostate cancer risk. The typical diet for this group provided calcium from vegetables, tofu and grains.

There were 298 incident cases of prostate cancer during the study period. The researchers found that the men in the highest quartile of calcium consumption had about a 25 percent increased risk of prostate cancer compared to those in the lowest quartile of consumption, but this increase did not meet statistical significance. However, this association was stronger and statistically significant for men with a body mass index below average; these men had double the risk of prostate cancer.

"Our overall finding supports the modest positive association reported from a pooled analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies for calcium intake and prostate cancer risk. With one exception, all previous prospective studies were conducted among Western populations with diets relatively high in calcium and from primarily dairy food sources. The calcium intake levels in the referent group of all previous prospective studies were higher than among Singapore Chinese (e.g., less than 266 mg/d). Thus, our study is the first to report a positive association between calcium and prostate cancer risk at such a low calcium level," the authors write.

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