Coffee lowers, alcohol raises breast cancer risk, studies show

Coffee lowers, alcohol raises breast cancer risk, studies showStockholm  - Two to three cups of coffee a day can reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, while alcohol consumption increases it, according to the results of two recent studies.

Citing research by Lund University and Malmo University in Sweden, the Swedish Research Council reported that coffee could retard the release of cancer-causing metabolic products by female sex hormones. What's more, it said, the caffeine in coffee had been shown to hamper the growth of cancer cells.

The council noted, however, that it was still too early to make concrete dietary recommendations based on results of the research.

The coffee-drinking habits of more than 450 breast cancer patients were examined in the Swedish study, which found that the positive effect of the drink depended on a variant of a particular gene.

Patients with the variant who regularly drank coffee had about a 30 per cent lower risk of developing breast cancer than coffee drinkers with a different variant.

Regular coffee consumption was beneficial to women in the latter group as well, the study showed: Their cancer generally appeared later than that of women who seldom or never drank coffee.

Meanwhile, a US breast cancer study found that the more alcohol a woman drank, the greater her chance of developing the disease became. The type of drink beer, wine or spirits did not matter.

Citing a study by Kaiser Permanente, a health care organisation based in Oakland, California, the German publication Aerzte Zeitung reported that the breast cancer rate of women who consumed one to two alcoholic drinks per day was 10 per cent higher than that of women who drank less than one.

The rate was 30 per cent higher for women who consumed more than three alcoholic drinks per day, said the paper, which is published in the town of Neu-Isenburg. Kaiser Permanente studied the drinking habits of some 70,000 women over an eight-year period. A total of 2,829 of them developed breast cancer. (dpa)