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Coffee Drinking Can Lower Risk Of Prostate Cancer

May 18, 2011

Researchers have announced that men can lessen their risk of prostate cancer by consuming 6 or more cups of coffee per day.

A 20-year study examined 47,911 US men who reported on how much coffee they drank over four years from 1986 to 2008. A total of 5,035 cases of prostate cancer were reported over the length of the study, including 642 fatal, or metastatic, cases.

Men had a 60 percent lower risk of developing the most lethal type of prostate cancer and a 20 percent lower risk of forming any type of prostate cancer compared to men who did not drink coffee, it said.

Even limited to drinking three cups per day was enough to lower the risk to 30 percent of developing prostate cancer. “Few studies have specifically studied the association of coffee intake and the risk of lethal prostate cancer, the form of the disease that is the most critical to prevent,” said Harvard associate professor and senior author Lorelei Mucci.

“Our study is the largest to date to examine whether coffee could lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer,” she said.

Researchers believe the lower risk could be linked to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of coffee as the effects were the same whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated, according to The Daily Mail.

Even though it is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in US men, prostate cancer is not always deadly. It can be detected early, and the cancer can be graded on what is known as a Gleason score; the higher the score the more likely the cancer is to spread.

There are 16 million survivors of prostate cancer worldwide, and one in six men in the United States will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, ABC News reports.

Dr. Helen Rippon of The Prostate Cancer Charity, told BBC News, “Although this study is a welcome addition to our knowledge, it is far from definitive and we would not recommend men who are not already habitual coffee drinkers to become so in the hope of preventing prostate cancer. Heavy caffeine intake is associated with other health problems and men with benign prostate problems might well make urinary symptoms worse.”

Senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, Yinka Ebo clarifies: “There’s no need for men to start drinking gallons of coffee in an attempt to lower their prostate cancer risk. A number of other studies looking at coffee and prostate cancer have found that drinking coffee does not affect the risk of the disease, and this study only found a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer in men who drank more than six cups a day.”

“We would need to see these results repeated in other large studies before we can be sure whether coffee consumption affects the risk of prostate cancer.”

The study was published May 17 in an online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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