Busting Myths: Can Coffee Cause Cure Or Prevent Cancer
Coffee and cancer have had a rocky relationship over the years. Coffee was once recklessly touted as a cancer treatment and later declared a carcinogen. Today, new studies indicate it may help prevent certain types of cancer. And recently, a California judge stirred controversy by ruling that a health warning should be attached to coffee sold in that state. So, what are the myths and realities when it comes to coffee and cancer?
Can coffee increase the risk of cancer?
There is no clear evidence linking coffee consumption and increased risk of cancer, says Anthony Perre, MD, Chief of the Division of Outpatient Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® and an Internist at our Philadelphia hospital. In fact, the World Health Organization removed coffee from its list of carcinogens in 2016. WHO added coffee to its list of risk factors more than 25 years ago, but reversed course after more recent studies found no evidence that coffee increased cancer risk. A study published in 2017 showed that drinking two cups of coffee a day may lower the risk for several cancer types, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer and head and neck cancers, Dr. Perre says. There are probably a number of factors that may contribute to the reduced risk. The bottom line is theres no overwhelming evidence that coffee can cause or help prevent cancer.
Why is coffee considered a carcinogen in California?
What Is Dense Breast Tissue
Dense breasts are more common in younger women with smaller breasts. You cannot feel breast density and you cant tell just by firmness. You have to go to a doctor and get a mammogram.
It has been established by many studies that people with dense breasts are at a higher risk for breast cancer. However, the research done on caffeine and breast cancer found that drinking coffee does not increase any risk in breast cancer.
Because of these results, women should not be concerned about breast size reduction and breast cancer caused by drinking coffee.
Recommendations For Relieving Breast Pain
If youre experiencing cyclical breast pain, adjusting your caffeine intake is one way to try and ease your discomfort. Because each woman is different, its important to do a trial period where you test whether or not caffeine intake is influencing your breast pain. Try taking caffeine out of your diet for a few weeks and see what the results are.
Of course, there are many other ways to alleviate breast pain. Many women wear ill-fitting bras unknowingly, so getting a professional fitting for a more supportive bra may help relieve pain. Additionally, using a hot or cold compress on the site to soothe the swelling may help. Learn more about breast pain.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. The Stages of a Womans Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause. November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. Menopause: What is it? Patient Leaflet. 2007
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Potential Fixes For Covid
Caffeine consumption does not appear to be associated with overall breast cancer risk, according to a report in the Oct. 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, there is a possibility of increased risk for women with benign breast disease or for tumors that are hormone-receptor negative or larger than 2 centimeters.
Caffeine is probably the most commonly consumed drug worldwide, present in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some medications, according to background information in the article. It was hypothesized that caffeine may increase the risk of breast cancer after a study showed that women with noncancerous breast disease experienced relief from their symptoms after removing caffeine from their diet.
Consuming caffeine was also associated with a 68 percent increased risk of estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-negative breast cancer, or tumors to which the hormones estrogen and progesterone do not bind, and a 79 percent increased risk for breast tumors larger than 2 centimeters.
Coffee May Decrease Risk Of Skin Cancer
Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop basal cell skin cancers and malignant melanoma, and their risk decreases with every cup they drink. Coffee has long been associated with a reduction in the risk of various cancers however the current study is the first to show a reduction in the risk of melanoma.
In a study run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and AARP a food questionnaire was sent to 3.5 million AARP members living in California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Atlanta and Detroit.
According to findings of the study which were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who drank the most coffee every day enjoyed a lower risk of melanoma, compared with those who drank little to no coffee.
People who drank one to three cups a day had about a 10 percent decreased risk of melanoma compared with those who drank none at all, while those who drank four or more cups had a 20 percent decreased risk.
It is important to understand that the study only uncovered an association between coffee consumption and the risk of developing melanoma risk it doesnt prove a true cause and effect relationship but is certainly intriguing.
Some previous research has shown that coffee drinking may be protective against other skin cancer, apparently by mitigating the damage to skin cells caused by the suns ultraviolet rays.
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Caffeine: Health Perks And Pitfalls
Do you need a daily dose of caffeine for your healths sake?
Caffeine is everywhere. You sip it in your morning coffee, slurp it from your afternoon tea and nibble it when you eat a bit of chocolate after dinner.
You already know caffeine can help you stay alert and awake.
But apart from perking you up, some caffeine sources have been linked to major health benefits, including:
- Protection from basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer
- Lower risks for oral cancer and endometrial cancer
- Reduced risk for Parkinsons disease in men
- Less weight gain over time and protection from diabetes
So, do you need a daily dose of caffeine for your healths sake?
More research is needed
While some research has linked caffeine sources to some big benefits, our experts say the jury is still out.
Theres some evidence that coffee or tea may be beneficial for weight management and lowering your disease risk, but whether thats because of caffeine is not clear, says Wenli Liu, M.D., associate professor in Internal Medicine at MD Anderson.
Its possible, says Liu, that the antioxidants and other compounds in coffee and tea could explain the drinks health benefits.
The takeaway: Most studies linking coffee or tea to major health benefits arent conclusive and caffeines role is uncertain.
Caffeine can cause problems
We know for certain that caffeine in high amounts can cause heart palpitations and arrhythmias, Liu says. It also can worsen stomach ulcers.
Caffeine isnt magic
Why Is This Study Important
Many people regularly drink coffee and tea. This study finds that these beverages are not harmful and may be linked to a lower risk of death after a breast cancer diagnosis. For breast cancer survivors who are concerned with how diet affects their chance of cancer returning, this study adds some clarity to one part of daily life.
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Coffee May Cut Uterine Cancer Risk
Coffee consumption may reduce the incidence of uterine cancer, especially among overweight and obese women, according to the results of a study published in the International Journal of Cancer.
Researchers continue to evaluate the link between dietary intake and cancer. Several studies have shown a reduced risk of uterine cancer associated with coffee consumption. Although the reasons for this are unclear, some evidence suggests that coffee consumption may lower insulin resistance, which has been associated with uterine cancer.
Researchers used data from the Swedish Mammography Cohort, which was a population-based cohort study that involved 60,634 women who were followed for an average of 17.6 years. During that time, 677 women were diagnosed with uterine cancer. The women self reported their coffee consumption at baseline and then again in 1997.
Each additional cup of coffee per day was associated with a 10% reduction in the risk of developing uterine cancer. Interestingly, the association appeared to be related to body mass index, as it was confined to women who were overweight or obese. Each additional cup of coffee resulted in a 12% risk reduction in overweight women and a 20% risk reduction in obese women.
The researchers concluded that coffee consumption might decrease the risk of uterine cancer, especially among women who are overweight or obese.
Caffeine Breast Cancer Link Minimal
Study Shows No Overall Increased Risk for Coffee Drinkers
Over 10 years of follow-up, women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had the same overall risk of breast cancer as women who almost never drank coffee.
There was some suggestion that heavy caffeine consumption was associated with an increased risk for benign breast disease and that caffeine may speed the progression of aggressive forms of breast cancer.
But study co-author Shumin M. Zhang, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, says it is not clear if this observation was real or a chance finding.
“I would interpret this subgroup analysis with caution,” she tells WebMD. “These findings really should reassure women. From this and other studies, I would say that it is pretty clear that there is no overall increase in risk.”
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The Effects Of Caffeine On Breasts
Tea, coffee, chocolate and cola soft drinks contain caffeine. Caffeine enervates the central nervous system with a stimulant effect. It can have a wide range of effects on the body. The side effects caffeine causes in the breasts do not typically require any treatment, notes the University of Rochester Medical Center.
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Other Ways Caffeine Affects Womens Health
While we are on the subject of caffeine consumption and womens health, let us examine the other ways these two are related:
- Consumption of caffeine can aggravate symptoms of PMS. These symptoms may include: breast tenderness and swelling, abdominal cramps, headaches, bloating, weight gain, irritability, fatigue, and depression. Eliminating caffeine will nix some of these symptoms, especially breast tenderness and irritability.
- Caffeine may affect some womens fertility. Women who enlist in fertility services are often told to give up caffeine while trying to conceive.
- Pregnant women that consume caffeine may give birth to smaller babies, and babies who demonstrate symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Pregnant women who consume caffeine may also experience heart palpitations.
- Women who breastfeed should not consume caffeine as it affects the breast milk.
- Caffeine can aggravate the symptoms of menopause in women. These symptoms are hot flashes, insomnia, osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, and even heart attacks.
- Excessive caffeine consumption accelerates the aging process, therefore bringing about menopause at an earlier stage in life.
- Caffeine consumption may make menopausal women more vulnerable to bone loss.
- Caffeine consumption is associated with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Caffeine is also associated with increasing homocysteine levels, which may contribute to the development of heart disease.
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Coffee And Endometrial Cancer
The majority of data available suggests that coffee consumption is linked to a lower risk of endometrial cancer5,87-90. IARCâs 2016 review found that many epidemiological studies showed reduced risks for cancers of the uterine endometrium1. The WCRF Endometrial Cancer Report lists coffee under a probable decrease in risk, and mentions that the effect is found in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and cannot be attributed to caffeine91.
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How Might Coffee Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
The exact mechanism behind how coffee may reduce the risk of cancer is unclear, and there are several different theories.
But at the moment these are just theories well need more research to understand whether and how coffee could affect cancer growth and development.
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Identification Of Breast Cancer Cases
In each biennial questionnaire, participants were asked whether they had been diagnosed as having breast cancer in the previous two years, and we attempted to interview nonrespondents by telephone. The response rates were approximately 90 percent for each questionnaire. Deaths were identified by a report from a family member, the postal service or the National Death Index. When a case of breast cancer was reported, we asked the participant for permission to obtain medical records. Since self-reports have been confirmed by pathology reports in 98% of instances, we included the few-self reported cases for whom we could not obtain medical records in the analysis. Pathology reports were also reviewed to obtain information on estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status. 74 percent of the cases had receptor status information . Cases of carcinoma in situ were not included in the analysis.
Coffee And Cancer: What The Research Really Shows
Researchers have been investigating the links between coffee and cancer for decades. But there is still a lot they dont know. In 2016, an expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer the arm of the World Health Organization that is responsible for assessing whether certain substances cause cancer could not conclude that drinking coffee is carcinogenic based on the current evidence available.
And now the coffee-cancer connection is in the news again. A California court ruling last week about a coffee warning related to a chemical formed during the roasting process has raised questions among consumers.
So, what do coffee drinkers need to know? In this interview, American Cancer Society researchers, Susan Gapstur, PhD, and , ScD, provide insights into what studies to date really show when it comes to coffee and cancer, and discuss what other research is still needed.
Q. What does the research show about the link between coffee and cancer?
A. Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes of death. However, associations with cancer overall or with specific types of cancer are unclear. In 2016, an expert working group convened for the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs Programme reviewed the worlds body of human and laboratory research on coffee drinking and cancer risk, and they found the evidence of carcinogenicity of coffee drinking to be unclassifiable.
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Does Caffeine Cause Cancer
The research on drinking coffee and the potential risk of cancers found that the risk of cancer isnt increased by consuming coffee. Furthermore, drinking coffee is accompanied by a decreased risk of cancer of the liver and produces a beneficial effect on liver enzymes and cirrhosis.
Does caffeine cause cancer? In another analysis, coffee consumption was associated with a decreased risk of endometrial cancer. A possible reduced risk was also demonstrated in certain studies for pharyngeal/oral cancer and prostate cancer .
Case-control research studies showed that coffee drinking produces favorable effects on colorectal cancer. For cancer of the urinary bladder, the relationship between caffeine and cancer isnt consistent, but any possibility of direct association isnt related to duration and dose and may also depend on the persistent effect of smoking.
According to the evidence, there is no overall association of coffee intake with the occurrence of cancers of the lungs, pancreas, stomach, prostate, ovary, and breast.
Does caffeine cause cancer? While consuming coffee is no longer classified as carcinogenic , in 1991, coffee drinking was classified as being probably carcinogenic to human beings.
For more than 20 other malignancies, evidence of a link between caffeine and cancer was inconclusive.
Does Coffee Consumption Improve Survival In Advanced Colorectal Cancer
A large observational study strongly suggests that increased coffee consumption among patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer may be associated with reduced risk for disease progression and death.
In the trial 1171 patients with advanced or metastatic CRC being treated with chemotherapy were allowed to enroll in an optional diet and lifestyle study that collected data between 2005 and 2018. Participants responded to a series of semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire that assessed 131 food items and supplements.
The data suggested that for every cup of coffee per day there was an improvement in overall survival. This appeared independent of caffeine. Compared with coffee abstainers, those who drank at least 2 cups of decaffeinated coffee had an improved risk for overall survival as well.
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Does Coffee Cause Cancer
Research has demonstrated both beneficial and deleterious health effects of coffee. First, the good news: Moderate coffee consumptionhas been linked to many health benefits. Brewed coffee can be a rich source of natural antioxidants, which may play a significant role in slowing the aging process and in inhibiting life- threatening diseases such heart disease, stroke, Alzheimers disease, and cancer. According to the Harvard Health Publications, studies have shown that coffee drinkers are 50% less likely to suffer from cancer than non-coffee drinkers. Several studies have suggested that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. In other research, coffee has been shown to help protect against asthma , gall stones, cirrhosis of the liver, and Parkinsons Disease. Because coffee helps boost body metabolism, it can also be effective in a weight loss program.
On the other hand, there is also bad news: Coffee can really lower your body pH especially if you drink several cups per day and disease, especially cancer, thrives in an acid environment. Caffeine consumption has been linked to breast cancer, and breast lumps have often regressed in women who adopt the caffeine-restricted Minton Diet. When coffee is roasted, the carcinogen 3,4 benzopyrene is formed. There have also been identified two other possible carcinogens found in coffee.