Does Caffeine Cause Breast Cancer?

People often wonder if there is a link between breast cancer and caffeine consumption. Will drinking caffeine increase your risk for breast cancer? Dr. Jay Harness addresses this question in the video below.

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Dr. Jay Harness: Over the years we have associated caffeine with being a cause of fibrocystic changes of the breast, and I have to smile because in all the years I have been doing breast cancer work and dealing with woman with the breast disease I have been asking them particularly of fibrocystic changes of the breast, how much caffeine do you drink? And I got, and I’m smiling right now because frankly, I have been sort of shocked at the industrial strength levels of caffeine that I have seen many patients consume or that they have shared with me they have consumed.

So the whole business of the association of caffeine with fibrocystic changes of the breast or is caffeine associated with breast cancer has been a subject that has been very poorly studied, and poorly understood.  Fibrocystic changes of the breast really peak out in women in their 40s.  In other words, right before menopause.  Interestingly, caffeine consumption during those years tends to be pretty high as well.  Part of the thinking is that there are internal mechanisms that stimulate the stress, the hormone and balance.  The caffeine contributes to the stress and all the stuff coming together causes fibrocystic changes of the breast.

I just have to tell you, having looked into this literature over the years, none of the stuff is really well-understood.  So I have been asked the question does caffeine cause breast cancer?  And the answer is to the best of my knowledge, no.  I really wish we understood what the causes of breast cancer are.  I am personally convinced that there is more than just one cause of breast cancer, but to the best of my knowledge caffeine, per se, is not one of them.

Dr. Jay K. Harness is a board certified surgeon currently treating patients at St. Joesph Hospital in Orange, CA. Dr. Harness specializes in complete breast health, breast cancer surgery, oncoplastic reconstruction, genetic screening, management of breast health issues, risk assessment and counseling. Dr. Harness is the medical director for Breast Cancer, and guides this first ever social media show’s information by drawing on his former leadership experience as the President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1969 and spent time early on in his career at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

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