Updated: Jul 16
In today's world of complex issues and ticking timers, many of us like to boost ourselves with a lovely cup of coffee or two almost every day. Be it in the office, at your lunch break, or even in the morning to get you up and running, we really don't shy away from our ol' buddy Joe.
And not for nothing either, because caffeine has numerous benefits for your health and productivity, when consumed in moderation, of course. But does coffee affect breast health?
According to The American Cancer Society, The average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. That means that one in eight women will have to battle breast cancer at some point.
And going up against such real chances of developing a severe form of cancer means that we all have to take good care of our health and avoid foods and behaviors that are risk factors, especially if that risk factor is something we consume on a daily basis.
As will be described later, current research is contested as to a correlation between caffeine and breast cancer. However, a significant majority points to no clear link between the two.
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Does Caffeine Cause Breast Cancer?
Much of the argumentation on the harmful effects of caffeine on breast health is rooted in a controversial debate on coffee's impact on the possibility of developing fibrocystic breasts. This refers to the development of denser tissue within the breast that may feel a bit lumpy on the outside and can cause pain for many.
It has been falsely believed by many that fibrocystic breasts are caused by coffee and signs of future cancers. Yet, it has now been made clear that this condition is completely ordinary and commonplace in women, occurring in roughly half of women between the ages of 20 and 50.
Furthermore, contrary to traditional beliefs, fibrocystic breasts are not harmful to your health or precursors of breast cancer.
The theory of a link between caffeine and fibrocystic breasts has affected many women negatively in the past, but it is now apparent through extensive experimentation that there is no clear correlation between the two.
A 2008 study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services looked at the rate of breast cancer development in 85.000 participants with varying levels of caffeine consumption. Each participant was monitored for 22 years to record possible breast cancer cases. However, the study failed to observe any correlation between coffee, tea, and breast cancer.
Here are the findings:
“The multivariate relative risks (RRs) of breast cancer across categories of caffeinated coffee consumption were: 1.0 for <1cup/mo (reference category), 1.01 (95% confidence interval: 0.92–1.12) for 1/mo-4.9/wk, 0.92 (0.84–1.01) for 5/wk-1.9/d, 0.93 (0.85–1.02) for 2–3.9/d, 0.92 (0.82–1.03) for ≥4 cups per day (p for trend= 0.14). Intakes of tea and decaffeinated coffee were also not significantly associated with risk of breast cancer.”.
Can Coffee Increase Breast Density?
What Is Breast Density?
Breast density refers to the amount of glandular and fibrous connective tissue within the breast compared to fat tissue.
On a mammogram, denser tissues are observed as whiter and more opaque than fat tissue, which is more transparent.
Breast density cannot be measured in a self-exam or clinical breast exam but requires a mammogram to be measured accurately.
Breast density is a risk factor for breast cancer. The reasons for this are unknown, but numerous studies have pointed to a concrete link between the two. However, the mortality rate of patients with dense breasts is not more than that of non-dense breasts.
Breast density is classified into one of the following four categories on a mammogram report:
A large portion of the breasts comprises fat (about 10 percent of women).
The breasts have a few sections of dense tissue (about 40 percent of women).
The density of the breasts is even all the way around (about 40 percent of women).
The breasts are extremely dense (about 10 percent of women).
Does Caffeine Increase Breast Density?
The link between caffeine consumption and breast tissue density is not yet fully understood, with some studies pointing at a remote connection and some at none.
A recent study conducted in 2020 looked measured the breast density of 751 cancer-free women with varying levels of caffeine consumption and found no clear correlation between caffeine usage and breast density.
How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
Up to 400 mg of caffeine daily appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That's roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, ten cans of pop, or two energy drinks. However, keep in mind that the actual caffeine content in beverages may vary greatly, especially among energy drinks.
As mentioned before, caffeine has many benefits when consumed in moderation. However, issues can quickly begin to rear their heads when this consumption starts to boil over to excessive. Not only for breast health either.
Excessive caffeine consumption is directly linked to numerous unpleasant side effects in the short term and severe disorders in the long term. Some of the most common side effects of too much caffeine intake are:
Frequent urination or inability to control urination
Key Takeaways - Coffee and Breast Cancer
All in all, it is safe to say that your daily cup of coffee is improbable to be detrimental to your breast health.
However, we are still far from knowing every variable that may contribute to developing breast cancer and other breast disorders. This is why it is pivotal for all women, especially those with unhealthy diets, to conduct regular examinations and get regular mammogram scans.
Here at Triwi, we believe that one of the most necessary precautions we can take against breast disorders is regular self-examinations. Regularly examining your breasts for abnormalities can help you quickly identify and act upon potential issues.
But it can sometimes be a bit difficult to examine your breasts, especially if you are not that sure about what to look out for. And that is where our self-checkup cup comes in.
It reminds you of the appropriate checkup day according to your menstrual calendar and allows you to note your findings during the control, so the next time you decide to make sure your breasts are healthy, you won't have to do it alone!