View Full Version : Coffee and Tea

01-12-2011, 12:10 AM
Someone told me coffee and tea stimulate BC. I do not want to believe since I'm quite addicted to coffee.
Has anyone heard if having coffee or tea is not good for BC patients.

Gift, who will go for Taxoltere and Caboplatin combo in a bit, wish me luck!

01-12-2011, 07:16 AM

I love your screen name. I believe the association is with the caffeine in coffee and tea, which is thought to have estrogenic effects. Here is a link to another thread where Rich66 posted some research: http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=235360&highlight=coffee#post235360

Herbal teas are best to avoid caffeine, as even decaffinated coffee and tea contains some caffeine.

Best of luck with your treatment,


Mary L
01-12-2011, 08:47 AM
My oncologist told me to limit caffeine so I stick to herbal tea. Mary L

01-12-2011, 10:45 AM
There is no strong evidence suggesting a link between caffeine and breast cancer (but have been some small studies showing possible link warranting further review). Caffeine does appear to impact breast health in regards to fibrocystic breast disease (increased pain, swelling) but studies have not demonstrated a connection with BC risk. However, caffeine certainly impacts many areas of health (blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, etc). I feel comfortable with patients enjoying a cup of coffee but don't like them drinking it all day. Here are a few studies from PubMed.



01-17-2011, 02:07 PM
Hi, Gift:
There is another issue besides the caffeine. Coffee and tea plants are heavily sprayed with dangerous pesticides in many countries. Therefore, we're drinking pesticides if we are not careful. Whenever possible, try to drink 'organic' or 'fair trade' teas to avoid pesticides.

03-27-2011, 01:29 AM
We are coffee drinkers.The dietecian said one small cup with diluted milk is OK per day.She approved plain green Tea

03-27-2011, 12:07 PM
This could drive you crazy. I certainly have tried to make healthier choices since my diagnosis but I really feel I cant stop enjoying things. I have probably two cups of cofee a day, I love cofee, and then drink green tea probably once a day. When I was first diagnosed I didn't know which way to turn and I was scared to eat anything because of all the warnings, red meats, hormones in food, etc etc. I think we have to be sensible and have our treats in moderation. I still want to have a glass of wine here and there and I dont want to give up my coffee. I also only buy organic free trade coffee.

03-29-2011, 08:43 AM
I couldn't agree more! Thank you! Yes, I think a healthy lifestyle is very important but part of that includes limiting stress.

05-23-2011, 10:45 AM
I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and green tea the rest of the day. Green tea is supposed to be good for breast cancer patients. I just bought some organic coffee and will try that next.

05-23-2011, 12:46 PM
I drink one sometimes to coffee in the morning followed by apple cider vinegar with water..as coffee is very acidic and cancer loves acid. i also drink green tea.

05-23-2011, 07:11 PM
Well, a good buddy of mine made what seems to me to be a very rational comment, "all my cancer survivor acquaintances who switched from coffee to green tea are dead."

It may be anecdotal but it speaks volumes to me. I drink both along with black tea, hedging my bets! LOL!

05-23-2011, 11:44 PM
Has anyone tried sundried(not machine cured) black organic tea.We got some as a gift from our homestay hosts when I took Hema to Homachal a fortnight back.I wonder whether it has the same properties as gren tea.Its aroma is heavenly

07-04-2011, 06:25 AM
According to this abstract, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18183588, there's actually a weak "inverse correlation" between caffeine intake and BC risk in post-menopausal women, meaning caffeine might be good for you if you've experienced menopause. "Moderation in all things. . . ."

07-05-2011, 11:12 AM
My understanding is that the estrogenic qualities of coffee are not related to caffeine. So decaf or reg would have the same issue. I saw this first in relation to promoting an existing ER+ breast cancer (at surprisingly low levels) and more recently in prostate cancer, where there is a benefit. Makes sense since prostate cancers, driven by androgens, are sometimes given estrogenic supplements to help fight it. To complicate things, there are some instances in breast cancer tha have been deprived of estrogen can become susceptible to highly estrogenic supplementation..i.e estradiol shots etc. The trick is knowing when the ER+ cells have jumped ship and become vulnerable to estrogen. Who knows. But if you are in the mode of treating the cancer by blocking or reducing circulating estrogen, probably counterproductive to drink coffee.

07-12-2011, 05:32 AM
Pibikay, how was the sun-dried tea? Sounds yummy. Did you ever get any more info on that?

www.pinkkitchen.info (http://www.pinkkitchen.info)

07-12-2011, 06:48 AM
I am making Hema stick to green tea.We have'nt tried the other one.Thanks

07-12-2011, 12:57 PM
I agree with Laurel. Along those lines- if something as common as caffeine is causing, contributing, or even related to BC- I think we'd have noticed this trend long ago. But everything in moderation, naturally.

On another note, just because something says its organic doesn't mean its free of chemicals that could still cause/contribute to cancer- there are alot of chemicals in nature, just think about animal manure used as fertilizers. To try and live completely organic or free range is going to set us all up for a big disappointment because that generates a false sense of security. Perfectly healthy people, who exercise daily, eat organic food, avoid caffeine can still get cancer.

07-12-2011, 01:51 PM
"if something as common as caffeine is causing, contributing, or even related to BC- I think we'd have noticed this trend long ago."

Not too sure about that since it's a clinical trial world. Who's going to fund a randomized caffeine/cancer study? But again, it seems the more concerning issue is estrogens in coffee in relation to ER+ BC..including decaf.

07-12-2011, 08:28 PM
Ok, here's the official list of things we can no longer do since BC:

1.Drink Alcohol....bad (probably gave you cancer in the first place).

2. Enjoy Sex....too estrogen deprived to get "charged up."

3. Feel attractive....foobs, foam foobs, weight gain, stiffness, fatigue.

4. Savor Sugar.....(probably gave you BC, but if IT didn't it will feed whatever CTCs remain behind)

5. Chow Down on Red meat, processed meats...(probably gave you cancer, but if they didn't they will definitely cause it to return).

6. Slurp Soda....(sheesh, you know that stuff is loaded with SUGAR, not to mention you can peel paint with the crap!)

7. Wear deodorant....oh, come on, you KNOW it clogs your sweat glands and the aluminum chlorhydrate gave you cancer! Just stink already, will ya? After all considering #2 what does it matter?

8. Splash on perfume, make-up, shampoo, lotion....contain the estrogen mimicking parabens.....yep, you guessed it, vanity (thy name is woman to quote the immortal bard) gave you cancer.

9. Being female, puberty.....estrogen, estrogen, estrogen. Ladies, become men!

10. Wake up to a hot cup of joe....aw, hell, you might as well just stay in bed. Wonder if the sheets can give me cancer....?

11. Drink water.....from the tap: full of contaminates, from the bottle: phalates. To recap, no alcohol, soda, coffee, water, nothing reconstituted with water, leaves what? Milk? Oh no, full of bovine growth hormone! Suggestions anyone????????

12. Have peace of mind........

07-12-2011, 08:36 PM
And..no stress ;) C'mon Laurel..become a tea snob. It's good fer ya...and it's slimming too. And it might just get ya..err..charged up. And oh...be grateful that you can take some level of control over inputs..unlike the trip neg gals. (ducks)

07-13-2011, 05:24 AM
Thought this one might belong here (since coffee and tea are mentioned :):


Notice as cancer patients undergoing chemo/radiation treatment, our fluid intake might be different. What I do know is that because caffeine (in tea and coffee) dehydrates the cells, whenever we drink caffeinated drink, we need to add a cup of water to our intake.

07-13-2011, 07:08 PM
Aw shucks, Rich, I do drink tea, several cups daily. I was not fond of green tea, but have found this green-black chai combo that is very tasty. A bit expensive for 20 bags, but worth it, I think. Funny thing is how I find tea makes me jittery in the morning. Wonder why? I prefer good, old java for the a.m., but drink tea the remainder of the day. As I said before, I am hedging my bets on the tea/coffee consumption with a bit of both! Hope they never try to take away tea, but I won't be a bit surprised when they do. Seems inevitable! It will then have to go on the list! LOL.

07-14-2011, 10:56 AM
Laurel - love, love, love your response - made me laugh out loud.
thanks for that.

Ellie F
07-14-2011, 02:15 PM
Laurel, you always make me howl with laughter! The sooner they sort out what causes us to have bc the better. Then we can get back to all our vices!!

On a serious note my understanding is that green tea downregulates her 2 so it's very helpful as it is easily taken up by the body. I think as Rich has pointed out the confusion relates to ER+ status.
The issue about coffee is also murky. I thought I remembered Lani posting an article about coffee maybe being useful in the prevention of brain mets?


07-14-2011, 06:39 PM
Ellie, my personal barometer is still fluctuating on the coffee issue. I am keeping it a morning ritual and swearing off it the remainder of the day. The chai tea I mentioned that is a black/green combo is made by Stash and is organic. Good stuff. Green tea, just like water with lemon, dries my mouth. Water with lime does not. Black tea does not. That's why I am not a real fan of most green teas. I like the taste, but hate the dry mouth and thirst it seems to evoke.

Vices! Yes! Give me back some vices! Truth is I'm too old for most of 'em anyway!

07-16-2011, 05:25 AM
This is completely non-cancer related but it made me think of this thread as I read it and thought someone might enjoy it (in defense of coffee [moderate] and tea).

Do tea, coffee drinkers have lower "superbug"(MRSA) risk?


08-30-2011, 01:47 PM
The thing about coffee that we have to watch is that some people have different glycemic responses than others. What I mean is that if a person is hypoglycemic, frequent caffeine intake can be a problem because it stresses out the adrenal glands and can make blood sugar levels wonky. And when our blood sugar levels are wonky, we are at greater risk for diabetes and cancer. So if you do choose to drink coffee and you are hypoglycemic, be careful that it is an occasional treat and stick to herbal teas as much as possible.

www.pinkkitchen.info (http://www.pinkkitchen.info)

09-05-2011, 08:59 AM
Hi ladies. Laurel you are soo funny what a wit...Kristin when I said I only drank organic coffee I dont buy it because I think it is healthier I just buy it because of my concern for the rainforest, the habitat of the birds and the workers... hope all are having a good long weekend. I always look forward to the new seasons. I think fall is my favourite. When had an extremely hot hot summer and I am ready for some cool air.

09-28-2011, 07:16 AM
I don't drink...
Don't smoke...
I eat a healthy diet (since BC, anyway)...loaded with phytochemicals and fiber. But...

Coffee, and chocolate take me to my happy place.
They relieve my stress.
They make me a nicer, more patient person.
Without them, I am terribly cranky (that's polite code for that 'B' word)

I suspect, that if I eliminated them from my diet, I might not have to wait for cancer to get me. Some random stranger (or beloved family member) might just put us both out of our misery!! (lol)

I'll give up red meat. No more fat-filled cheese fries. But, they simply cannot expect me to give up these last, precious vices!

I'm off for a lowfat decaf mocha latte! :)

09-28-2011, 09:08 AM
I drink darjeeling tea all day, every day. Now and then, I have a cup of coffee (to which I add chocolate and milk). They are my main source of fluids (although I also drink .75 to 1.5 liters of filtered tap water a day).

It is a myth that caffeine causes water depletion/dehydration:



Apart from that, I have not found any convincing evidence that tea and coffee contribute to breast cancer, and most of the evidence says just the opposite. The only caveat is that it seems best to avoid green tea during treatment because some of its constituents have been shown to block the effects of at least one cancer drug (and possibly others).

The problem with black tea is that it may contribute to anemia by blocking non-heme iron in the diet (which would've been a good reason for me to stop drinking it while receiving AC, but I'm an addict).

Finally, my grandmother drank black tea (mostly orange pekoe) several times a day, every day for her entire life. Although she was diagnosed with colon cancer when she was in her mid-to-late 70s, she lived to be 101. And the only reason she died then is that the colon cancer came back and was not caught in time. She was in otherwise perfect physical health (although her mind was pretty well paste at that point--she had non-Alzheimer's dementia, probably related to thyroid malfunction/depression).

(I've just re-read my post, and I see that I'm vehemently not-humorous. I apologize, but as I said above, I'm an addict, and I take any threat to my drug of choice very seriously. Make that over-seriously. Sheesh.)

09-28-2011, 09:27 AM
Me, again...
Just wanted to add that I drink only coffee, and water. Okay...I do drink some fruit juice occasionally...

But the point is, I'm hydrated.

I like tea, but it's just not coffee. Drinking coffee isn't quite a spiritual experience...I'm not that far gone...but it really is mood altering for me.
On the other hand, when I was a kid, my Mom always made me tea and toast when I was sick. So I associate tea with being sick. Frankly...I don't need any reminders that I'm "sick"! (lol) I've got that covered!

And dark chocolate...if loving that is wrong, I don't wanna be right! :)

09-28-2011, 10:56 AM
Denise, the good news is cocoa is thought to have cancer fighting components:

If you can consume it with minimal sugar or a sweetener like Stevia, should be all good. There are some options aimed at diabetics that can help with that craving.

The coffee issue (estrogenic) is at this point an issue in ER+ cancer. But caffeine itself tends to raise cortisol and reduce the quality of sleep, which will at some point likely be correlated to the "stress" issue mentioned elsewhere. But if you get more stressed without it....

Do you have the study showing green tea interferes with treatment? I have tried to compile info on green tea and haven't encountered that yet:

09-28-2011, 11:09 AM
Good news for me! I'm ER neg ... so no worries there.
And...wait for it...
I drink decaf anyway!!
(I only drink one or two cups a day...so very little caffeine involved.)

Interestingly...I used to avoid artificial sweeteners because I was afraid they caused cancer! What a crazy world!

As far as chocolate is concerned...I knew something that good HAD to be good for me. :)


09-28-2011, 11:59 AM
Hi Rich,

Green tea (specifically EGCG) interferes with Velcade:


That, of course, has nothing to do with us, but the pharmacists where I receive treatment (CINJ) recommend against any antioxidant supplementation during chemo under the theory that just as antioxidants protect healthy cells, they will also protect cancer cells by disrupting the free radicals produced by certain cancer drugs.

There are some studies for this idea (for and against), but I will have to search for them again (didn't save them when I did the initial search after the slash and burn on my supplement list), but the overall recommendations (which actually contradict the pharmacists to some extent) are on the Robert Wood Johnson site, here:


Of course, my faith in the pharmacists was somewhat shaken by the fact that they did not caution me about the grandmother of all antioxidants--alpha lipoic acid--but I dropped that from my supplements on my own.

I tried to renegotiate some of my supplements after I was done with AC and moved on to Taxol and Herceptin, but it was put to me that I'm better safe than sorry. I did get a reluctant okay about SAM-e, but even that came with a caution. I'm still debating it, because it's great for the liver, and I need it for SAD now that winter's coming, but I'm seriously thinking about waiting until I'm done with Taxol. I'd rather have SAD for a couple of months than cancer for a (shortened) lifetime.

As an aside, the one antioxidant supplement I've increased (to prevent Taxol-induced neuropathy) is acetyl-l-carnitine. I've had two doses so far, and both my hands and feet are doing fine. There's a study for this also (ongoing, but promising, I believe), and having given up all the rest of the antioxidants on my list, I figured I was owed a compromise. ALCAR is a somewhat specialized antioxidant, though, so it shouldn't actually interfere the way the others might.

I'll get back to you on the other studies as soon as I have the mental fortitude to find them again. (Either that, or I'll do it the lazy way and ask the pharmacists for documentation next time I go for chemo.)

Edited to add: Here's one:


09-28-2011, 12:54 PM
This pronounced antagonistic function of EGCG was evident only with boronic acid–based proteasome inhibitors (BZM, MG-262, PS-IX), but not with several non–boronic acid proteasome inhibitors (MG-132, PS-I, nelfinavir). So even within that unique class of chemo, for a blood cancer, kind of unusual effect in a blood cancer.
For solid tumor, specifically BC drugs like Herecptin, Taxol, Cisplatin and Tamoxifen..suggestion is it's helpful.
Though in a new search came across the possibility that it might be wise to take it time separated from oral meds:

A bit of discussion on the anti ox/pro ox issue:

A response to the Vit C/chemo abstract:

09-29-2011, 07:39 AM
Yikes. There's a ton of information but no good reassurance either way.

I have links to the articles that seem to underlie the concerns of the pharmacists at CINJ (as well as the pharmacists that maintain Cancer Supportive Survivorship Care:http://www.cancersupportivecare.com/complementary.html). The first link is to the Labriola/Livingston article of 1999:


Unfortunately, the above link requires a login, but registration is free. In the alternative, I have a copy of the article, but it's pretty long to paste into a post, so if there's a better alternative, please let me know.

The more recent article is this one from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:


and this is the semi-rebuttal:


The research is being done, albeit slowly, but consensus is really lacking.

As for me, I have no love for green tea, so giving it up for chemo was no skin off my nose (in other words, I didn't have anything to give up, because all I've ever done with green is to occasionally mix it half and half with black). I've waffled about giving up L-Theanine extract, but it's not in the same class as the green tea antioxidants so I tell myself it's okay now and then.

I asked about carrot juice, which I had been drinking daily (4 ounces), and it was discouraged. I didn't ask about coffee, black tea and chocolate, all of which are pretty high in antioxidants, but I console myself that the studies I have read demonstrate that milk--which I add to all of the above--seems to neutralize, at least to a great extent, the antioxidants contained in each.

Most, but not all, foods (like my carrot juice) seem to get a pass under the theory that the antioxidant amounts in the normal diet are not great enough to cause a problem. I expect that for someone who craves green tea like I crave darjeeling, a cup or two is not an issue, but drinking it in excess for the purpose of helping things along may be counterproductive.

Bottom line is that I probably shouldn't have posted so definitively because I'm not the Shell Answer Man. (I blame the excessive steroids in my system for my over-abundant enthusiasm, because I'm mostly over it today, thank God.)

At the moment, I'm eating what I crave, and according to my food diary, it's not causing a problem with my nutrient intake (which is right at the midline, except for the B vitamins, which I continue to supplement), so I figure I can survive another eight weeks sans the ones the pharmacists banned. Feels kinda like a crapshoot, though, and I really miss n-acetyl-cysteine (which has the same uneven results as green tea).