Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. Cancer occurs as a result of mutations or abnormal changes in the genes responsible for the regulation of cell growth and health. The genes are in the nucleus of the cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves in an orderly process, but over time, mutations can ‘turn on’ certain genes and ‘turn off’ others. The changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more and more cells just like it, forming a tumour.1
Impact of coffee and caffeine on breast cancer
The participants of the study were women between the ages of 50 and 74, born and living in Sweden. The study showed a 20% reduction on overall breast cancer risk in women (model adjusted for age only) when more than 5 cups of coffee, or 25oz of coffee, a day was consumed, compared with when one or less cups of coffee was consumed daily. When the model was further adjusted for Hormone Replacement Therapy, smoking and alcohol consumption daily, the protective effect of coffee was no longer found to be statistically significant, indicating that the risk factors are stronger risks than coffee is protective. Further analysis showed that coffee consumption (5 cups or more a day) reduced the risk of estrogen receptor negative breast cancers by 57%, but had no impact on estrogen receptor positive tumor risks. The risk reduction on estrogen receptor negative tumors was independent of progesterone receptor status. The study was unable to draw conclusions as to whether brewing methods would impact the protection of coffee. A problem with the study is the amount of coffee consumption needed to produce protective results. Less than 25oz of coffee daily showed no protective effects, and there are long and short term consequences linked to drinking this amount of coffee. Substantial intake of coffee could effect cortisol levels, digestive function, and neurological activity.2
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