Clinicians are suggesting breast cancer recovery patients taking the estrogen receptor-inhibiting drug Tamoxifen may want to pick up a daily coffee habit.
A study at Lund University in Sweden determined a noticeable decrease in the risk of breast cancer relapse, by nearly half, in patients taking both the drug and two or more cups of coffee daily as part of their treatment, in comparison to non-medication takers and non-coffee drinkers.
The working theory is coffee simply enhances the Tamoxifen, making it more effective.
For the data, researchers followed over 600 breast cancer patients from southern Sweden for five years. Approximately 300 of the subjects took Tamoxifen, a common hormone therapy drug taken after breast cancer surgery, which reduces the risk of new tumors by blocking estrogen receptors in both pre and post-menopausal women.
Certain breast cancers require estrogen (hormones) to grow. Interfering with the receptors inhibits the propagation of these particular cancer cells. Approximately 75 percent of breast tumors rely on estrogen, or are “estrogen dependent.”
A cancer is called estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+ or ER-positive) if it has receptors for estrogen. This suggests that the cancer cells, like normal breast cells, may receive signals from estrogen that could promote growth. The goal of anti-hormonal treatment is to disable the cancer’s ability to code by deactivating the receptor sites.
Aside from being a wonderful, caffeinated beverage some people see as life-blood for daily survival, coffee has several added health benefits. In the British Medical Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, Japanese researchers found drinking two or more cups of coffee regularly lowered the risks of cardiovascular disease by 38 percent in men and 22 percent in women.
Research out of the University of Eastern Finland’s School of Medicine, found the short-term stimulating effects on the central nervous system from drinking caffeinated coffee contributed to the inhibition of cognitive decline. Participants who enjoyed three to five cups a day had a decreased risk (65 percent) of developing Alzheimer’s disease (dementia).
Studies have also linked long-term coffee use to reduced risks for type-2 diabetes and prostate cancer, it helped alleviate pain, and encouraged weight loss.
[Image via Shutterstock]