Prospective study of "fibrocystic breast disease" and caffeine consumption.
Conflicting reports have appeared in the recent literature on a presumed association between coffee intake and "fibrocystic breast disease." The hypothesis suggesting that abstention from coffee and caffeine consumption eliminates breast pain and resolves breast nodules was based on an uncontrolled clinical study. For a condition with a notorious reputation for "waxing and waning," it is essential to document the stability versus instability of clinical findings, keeping the methyl xanthine consumption constant. Seventy-two women, all with palpable breast nodules, were followed over a 6-month period with monthly examinations and questionnaires on intake of coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, candies, and caffeine-containing drugs. The methyl xanthine consumption remained remarkably constant throughout the observation time. The examiner was uninformed as to previous examination findings and pain reports of each woman. In 21 (15%) breasts with nodularity, the nodules had completely disappeared by the termination of the study. A total of 125 (87%) breasts of the sample manifested a change in the number of nodules or a change in position. Forty-eight of the 72 women were menopausal. For a chronic condition with so much variety of subjective sensitivity and great variability of objective clinical palpation, it is difficult to relate the amount of methyl xanthine consumption to "fibrocystic breast disease."
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