Dietary oestrogen

Im wondering whether it is advisable to stop or limit intake of dairy products following my diagnosis of an oestrogen positive bc, for which recommended treatment includes oestrogen blocking drugs. I’ve seen that some research is taking place into dietary oestrogen (e.g. milk, yoghurt, etc from animal sources) but currently that views are mixed. I am a lifelong vegetarian and my main dietary intake of dairy is limited to live yoghurt which I’d like to keep taking if I could for its other health benefits. I’m also concerned about osteoporosis due to other chronic health issues. Is there any advice on this?

Hi, I went big on this following my diagnosis in February, I was actually stressing myself out trying to cut cheese milk processed foods and red meat from my diet. Eventually my breast care nurse told me “everything in moderation” I avoid red meat as a rule but if I go out for dinner I may eat it, I have oat milk in coffee and skimmed milk in tea. I also make smoothies which include spinach and kale with fruit. Not sure if it’s right but I needed to live and not just exist x

1 Like

Hi Cosmos1,
I’m in the same boat and have been veggie since the mid 80s. I’ve switched to half fat cheese and fat-free yoghurt as five months on Letrozole is affecting my weight. I’d prefer to include more soya based foods but have read that it isn’t advisable. I intend to ask my oncologist about dietary issues when I see her for my follow up in October. It would be good to have more clarity on the issue (based on research). I’d feel more confident that my approach is the right course. I’m obviously worried about getting enough calcium (i’m taking Adcal everyday and had one infusion of Zometa so far).

As a rule I don’t drink milk unless it’s a little cream in my coffee. I will have cheese but it’s not an everyday thing. I will eat probiotic yogurt three times a week. I take no calcium supplements but my calcium thus far as has been fine in my bloodwork. Red meat I eat sparingly and I try to avoid processed meats pretty much all the time but will on rare occasions have a sandwich. Sugar is not an everyday thing but I will eat it. That’s pretty much it. I consider moderation key.

Thanks for the replies and sharing your dietary concerns and strategies. It’s really helpful. My general diet is pretty good and at the same time I agree ‘everything in moderation’. I’m interested in what research there is on the role (if any) consumption of dairy products (and therefore oestrogen) has in oestrogen + bc.

Dairy. Myth: Dairy products including milk, cream and cheese increase the risk of breast cancer coming back. Fact: There is currently no scientific evidence that dairy products increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

[image] › breast…

[Breast cancer, diet and recurrence: top four myths dispelled](Weiterleitungshinweis


Hi cosmos1,
To take dairy or not… this is a debatable topic. No doubt there are nutrients in dairy products; however, my understanding is that dairy increases the IGF-1 factor in our blood and this IGF-1 factor is a growth hormone which promotes cancer growth? I have an overwhelming fear of recurrence so I am trying my best to avoid foods which are “cancer friendly”. I also have one lingering question: I note the golden rule is “everything in moderation”. What is moderation? Is it once a day, or once a week? If I were to drink milk, does “in moderation” mean a cup of milk everyday? I would like your thoughts/views…

Hello cosmos1,

Thanks for posting.

There is no evidence that people who have or had breast cancer need to avoid dairy or dairy products as @JeanAnn says. You mention concerns about osteoporosis and there are a range of health benefits in dairy as you say.

This information from Dairy UK might be of interest.

Some foods contain isoflavones and lignans, which are weak phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant substances that have a chemical structure similar to the female hormone oestrogen which is why there has been concern about its safety. But phytoestrogens are not the same thing as female hormones and don’t affect the body in the same way. There is no evidence that foods containing soy or isoflavones affect cancer risk. However, the safety of supplements containing soy is yet to be established so they are generally not recommended.

You may be interested in the information we produce about a healthy well-balanced diet and a recent Facebook Live with a dietician.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) have information about how diet, nutrition and exercise affect breast cancer mortality. This might be of interest as well to @Siggi.

You may also be interested in our Moving Forward courses as these include a session with a dietician. Details of all our services are here.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

If you would prefer one of our nurses to call you. To do this, please complete this form ticking the box agreeing to a call back.

Our usual opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday.

Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.

Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

Please read the Ask Our Nurses disclaimer Full details on how we collect and use your data can be found in our Privacy Policy

This thread will now be closed from further replies. If you have any additional questions or would like to provide feedback, please start a new thread.