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Caffeine May Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk
Date:1/22/2008

Alcohol and cigarettes not seen as threat, new research reports

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking alcohol doesn't seem to boost a woman's risk of ovarian cancer, while caffeine may help protect against the disease, a new study found.

In the same study, smoking cigarettes wasn't linked with an increase in the most common types of ovarian cancer but was associated with an increase in a rare subtype of the disease.

It's too soon to recommend drinking caffeine to lower ovarian cancer risk, said study senior author Shelley S. Tworoger, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.

"The results do need to be confirmed in other studies," Tworoger said. The lack of risk for alcohol and smoking has been found in other research, she added.

For the study, Tworoger and her colleagues looked at data from questionnaires in the Nurses' Health Study, which includes 121,701 U.S. female registered nurses. The study began in 1976, with women then aged 30 to 35 completing questionnaires, then replying every two years to update the data.

Tworoger's team looked at the association between smoking and ovarian cancer risk among 110,454 of the women, and the association between alcohol and caffeine and ovarian cancer risk among 80,253 women, all followed from 1976 to 2004. For the smoking analysis, the researchers found 737 confirmed cases of epithelial ovarian cancer, the most common type of ovarian cancer. For the diet analysis, they found 507 women with epithelial ovarian cancer.

No association was apparent for drinking alcohol and ovarian cancer, or for smoking, with one exception. "It [smoking] does appear to increase the incidence of a rare type, mucinous ovarian tumors," she said, a subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer.

However, the researchers found an "inverse trend" for total caffeine intake and caffeinated
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