Can Coffee Help Protect Against Breast Cancer?
Research shows that even heavy coffee consumption doesn’t increase the risk of breast cancer. In fact, it may even have a positive effect. Studies in Sweden and Germany have shown that postmenopausal women who drank five or more cups of coffee a day were up to 57 percent less likely to get hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer. Heavy coffee drinkers were also less likely to get hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. The overall reduction in risk for all types of breast cancer in heavy coffee drinkers was 20 percent.
Additional research shows that other factors may be at play. Caffeine may increase the risk of breast cancer for women with fibrocystic breast disease, women who are overweight, and premenopausal women. Other studies have found that regularly drinking coffee may reduce breast cancer risk for women with BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene mutations.
Coffee consumption may also influence the effectiveness of breast cancer treatment drugs. It may enhance the effectiveness of Tamoxifen, according to a 2015 study. In this study, women who were using tamoxifen to treat breast cancer and consumed at least two cups of coffee per day were half as likely to have their cancer recur as women who drank less coffee or none at all. Researchers suspect that the caffeine in coffee makes it more difficult for cancer cells to reproduce.
On the other hand, coffee consumption may reduce the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy agents, such as Adriamycin and Taxol. Women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer should consult with a physician regarding how much caffeine they can safely consume during treatment. Although not all of the evidence is conclusive, it suggests that there is no increased risk of breast cancer for coffee drinkers. You can help support further research on the causes of breast cancer and help support women who can’t afford breast cancer treatment by making a donation today.