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Study Suggests No Overall Link Between Caffeine-Breast Cancer

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 12:32 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Breast Cancer, Caffeine, Coffee, Women's Health, Benign Breast Disease


IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons / 3-D Caffeine / author: Benjah-bmm27

A new study has good news for women who can’t get through the day without their fix of Java.

New findings suggest caffeine consumption is not linked with an overall increase in breast cancer, says study co-author Dr. Shumin Zhang, Ph.D, from the division of preventive medicine, in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Researchers examined the diet habits of 40,000 women, over the duration of four years. They found no overall association between caffeine consumption and breast cancer risk, though some women who have benign breast disease may be at an increased risk, researchers say.

Following the collection of dietary data, researchers found within ten years 1,190 of the women had developed invasive breast cancer. Caffeine consumption in any form was not found to be significantly associated with a risk of developing breast cancer.

However, in women with benign breast disease – non-malignant lumps and/or tumors – there was a significant risk of breast cancer among those women who consumed more than three cups of coffee per day, said researchers. Generally speaking, benign breast disease is considered a risk for breast cancer.

High caffeine intake may promote progression from pre-malignant breast lesions to breast cancer because most forms of invasive breast cancer are believed to stem from certain pre-malignant lesions” researchers said.

There is, however, no link among those women who consume fewer than four cups of coffee per day.

The findings found in those with benign breast disease are marginal, and but warrant further investigation, notes researchers.

Previous studies suggested caffeine found in tea, soft drinks, coffee and various drugs, one of the world’s most commonly ingested drugs, could play a possible role in breast cancer.

“At this time, there is nothing to suggest that women should not consume caffeine for fear of increasing her risk of developing breast cancer,” said Dr. Alan Astrow, director of the division of hematology/oncology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City.

However, he does note, diet and breast cancer risk remains an area of active research and the results of these types of studies are not always easy to interpret. Future studies may possibly show different outcomes.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the October 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. #

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