Prospective data relating caffeine consumption to breast cancer risk are limited.

This is what the article “Caffeine Consumption and the Risk of Breast Cancer in a Large Prospective Cohort of Women” from the October 13 2008 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association, concludes according to the abstract.

A 10-year study of nearly 40,000 women 45 years or older has found no negative effects of caffeine when related to breast cancer. There had been suggestions that the effect of heavy caffeine consumption may speed up the progression from benignbreast disease to more aggresive forms of breast cancer. No such statistically significant health effect was found in this study.

However, it was stated that women having benign breast disease lumps may be at a higher risk. Benign breast disease in general is considered a risk for breast cancer.

Effects Of Caffeine On The Body

The studies started in 1992-1995, when a baseline of dietary information was established for a group of 38,432 women – 45 years or older, and cancer free. The effects of caffeine on the body (consumption of caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee), particularly breast cancer, was not statistically significant.

An almost significant positive association with breast cancer was observed however in the group of women with the highest caffeine consumption. Further study will be necessary to further investigate these links between breast cancer and the drinking of many cups of coffee or caffeinated tea a day (more than 4 cups), as the borderline significant findings [of a link between breast cancer progression in women with benign breast disease that drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day] of this study may be coincidental.

Health Benefits Of Caffeine

Research published back in May 2008, by well-known nutrition researcher Walter Willett, MD, and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health, in which 86 female nurses were observed for 22 years, showed no direct relationship between caffeine consumption and breast cancer risk either. There may even be a few positive health effects of caffeine on the body; Willett adds that coffee and caffeine have been found to be protective against type 2 diabetes in several studies and a research analysis.

“It is fair to say that, so far, the overall balance of risks and benefits are on the side of benefits,” he says.

As is the case with much in life: moderation is key. Too much of anything will increase the likelihood of problems.

Caffeine In Tea, Chocolate

Caffeine is not only found in coffee, but also in tea, chocolate and some prescription medicine.

More information about these studies, and further resources, can be found on http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20081013/caffeine-breast-cancer-link-minimal.