Aug 17, 2018 | Updated: 01:42 PM EDT

Coffee May Actually Fight Breast Cancer

Apr 22, 2015 04:13 PM EDT

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It seems that cup of joe may be doing more than providing you with that morning pick me up afterall, especially if you are a woman. Scientists have found that coffee may actually protect women against breast cancer. According to researchers, coffee actually inhibits the growth of tumors and reduces the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with the drug tamoxifen.

The new study is actually a follow-up of results that researchers first discovered two years ago. Unlike the previous study, however, the scientists combined the information about the lifestyles of their patients and the clinical data from 1,090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells.

The researchers examined in detail two substances that are often found in the coffee consumed in Sweden, caffeine and caffeic acid. It is these two substances that scientists believe are responsible for the inhibited tumor growth. By studying the effects of these substances, researchers found that they actually inhibit the growth of tumors and noted that the cancer cells reacted strongly with caffeine.

"The breast cancer cells reacted to these substances, especially caffeine, with reduced cell division and increased cell death, especially in combination with tamoxifen," write the researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernstrom, in a news release. "This shows these substances have an effect on the breast cancer cells and turn off signaling pathways that the cancer cells require to grow."

Researchers found that both in breast cancer patients and at a cell level that coffee actually reinforces the treatment with tamoxifen. Among over 500 women treated with the drug, those that had drunk two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence compared to those who drank less coffee or none at all. Scientists, however, were still quick to point out the importance of taking the prescribed medications as directed.

"They are incredibly important but if you like coffee and are also taking tamoxifen, there is no reason to stop drinking it," write the researchers. "Just two cups a day is sufficient to make a difference."

The findings reveal that coffee may actually help women with breast cancer. That said, this is a small effect, and women shouldn't count on the beverage as a "cure."

This is just one of several studies that have shown that drinking coffee has many health benefits and can reduce the risk of many different types of cancers and help avoid its recurrence as well.

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