“We have patients who take the (anti-hormone) drug Tamoxifen and drink two or more cups of coffee per day have a lower incidence of relapse,” Helena Jernström at Lund University told The Local on Wednesday.
She explained that the conclusions of the study are limited to those who have completed treatment for breast cancer and are taking Tamoxifen – a drug commonly used to cut the risk of relapse.
“This is our theory. This is an initial study and we need more research to rule out any other causes that we might not have asked about,” she said.
Several previous studies have indicated the benefits of drinking coffee in warding off breast cancer.
The Local reported in May 2011 on a study from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute that concluded that women who drink more than five cups of coffee per day have a significantly lower risk of developing a certain type of breast cancer.
Breast cancer can be sub-divided into hormone responsive (ER positive) and non-hormone-responsive (ER negative) subgroups.
The Karolinska scientists found that the regular coffee drinkers among the group were less likely to develop the ER-negative breast cancer than those who rarely or never drank coffee.
“There is more and more data with many different theories which make the link,” Jernström told The Local on Wednesday, underlining that more research is required.
The study, conducted in cooperation with Maria Simonsson, involved 634 women in southern Sweden and the results have been published in the Cancer, Causes & Control medical journal.
More research into the links between coffee and cancer prevention could be good news for women in the Nordic countries as they are world leaders in consumption.
According to World Resource Institute statistics from 2008, the Finns lead the group drinking the equivalent of 12 kilogrammes per capita per annum.
Sweden comes in sixth with an average of 8.2 kilogrammes consumed a year.
Peter Vinthagen Simpson