Drinking two cups of coffee a day could stop breast cancer recurring in recovering patients, new research has revealed.
Combined with the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen, coffee could halve the rate of recurrence of breast cancer, scientists have discovered. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that coffee actually boosts the effect of the drug.
They looked at 600 breast cancer patients from southern Sweden over a five year period. About 300 of them took tamoxifen - a drug commonly prescribed after breast cancer surgery. Tamoxifen is an anti-oestrogen drug that is widely used to treat breast cancer. Many breast cancers rely on the female sex hormone oestrogen to grow.
Hormone-positive breast cancer cells have proteins which oestrogen attaches too. When it comes into contact with these proteins it fits into them and stimulates the cancer cells to divide so that the tumour grows.
Tamoxifen works by fitting into the oestrogen receptors and blocking the hormone from reaching the cancer cells. This means the tumour either grows more slowly or stops growing altogether.