Caffeine may lower ovarian cancer risk

January 22, 2008 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Caffeine may lower ovarian cancer risk
A woman's chance of developing ovarian cancer appears to decrease with increased caffeine consumption, say Harvard researchers.

In this study, over 121,000 women aged 30 to 35 completed health surveys to determine if caffeine and drinks containing caffeine had any influence on ovarian cancer risk.

Women who consumed the most caffeine and coffee had the lowest likelihood of developing ovarian cancer. This effect was strongest in women who hadn't used   oral contraceptives or postmenopausal hormones.

Decaffeinated coffee had no effect on ovarian cancer risk, nor did smoking or alcohol consumption. Cigarette smoking was linked to an increased risk of a certain rare type of ovarian cancer.

These findings conflict with previous study results that suggest coffee might boost estrogen levels in women, thereby potentially increasing the risk of estrogen- sensitive health conditions such as endometriosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. 

In the current study, the authors were unclear as to how caffeine might protect from ovarian cancer.

Worldwide, more than 190,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year. Women often have mild or no symptoms until the disease has progressed.

For more information on how nutrition affects women's health, check out Leslie Beck's Nutrition Guide for Women.  

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