Drinking coffee could inhibit the risk of breast cancer returning in patients taking the drug Tamoxifen, a Swedish study has found.
Breast cancer patients who took the pill, alongside two or more coffees a day, showed less than half the rate of breast cancer recurrence compared to those who took Tamoxifen and only drank one cup or less of their preferred brew.
The team from Lund University in Sweden followed more than 600 breast cancer patients for over five years. Of the 600, approximately half of them took the drug Tamoxifen, a commonly used medication for hormone therapy post breast cancer surgery (it reduces the risk of new tumours). The interaction of the drug with coffee however, has yet to be established.
“One theory we are working with is that coffee ‘activates’ Tamoxifen and makes it more efficient,” says Maria Simonsson, doctoral student in Oncology at Lund University.
The university has previously linked caffeine with hindering the growth of cancer cells in general, with the latest study involving coffee’s role in cancer prevention. Although, the team are quick to point out the need for more research into the area.
“We would like to know more about how lifestyle can interact with breast cancer treatment,” says Helena Jernström, Associate Professor of Experimental Oncology at Lund University.