Coffee could reduce risks of colon cancer, say researchers

Having four or more cups of coffee daily could be linked to reduced risks of developing colon cancer.

According to a new study, researchers discovered that drinking several cups of coffee a day could help protect against colon cancer by roughly one fifth.

Led by Rashmi Sinha from the US National Cancer Research Institute in Rockville, the research team examined coffee and tea intakes of participants from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study – taking both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee in account in relation to colon (proximal and distal) and rectal cancers.

Sinha said: “In this large US cohort, coffee was inversely associated with colon cancer, particularly proximal tumours. Additional investigations of coffee intake and its components in the prevention of colorectal cancer by sub-sites are warranted”.

The UK’s NHS Choices service said that the study was ‘well conducted’ and “does suggest a link between coffee consumption and reduced bowel cancer risk”.

They added: “However, the researchers did recommend that further investigation into the link is needed, including study of the specific chemicals in coffee that could be having an effect”.

Using the participant data from 489,706 men and women taking part in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, Sinha and her co-workers examined information from self-administered questionnaires of demographics diet and lifestyle.

The team then followed the participants for an average of 10.5 years. In this time 2863 proximal colon cancers, 1993 distal colon, and 1974 rectal cancers, were identified in the group.

Approximately just under one fifth of participants drank four or more cups of coffee per day, the researchers said.

In contrast to non-drinkers, people who drink four to five cups or six or more cups of coffee daily had a lower risk of colon cancer particularly of proximal tumours.

The team revealed that among those drinking between four and six cups per day cancer over the decade of follow up was over one tenth lower than non-drinkers of coffee. Among those drank at least six cups a day, the incidence was one quarter lower.

Sinha and her colleagues said that drinking decaffeinated coffee did have some benefits although it was not as strong as caffeinated coffee while drinking tea seemed to have no proper effects.

They concluded: “Additional investigations of coffee intake and its components in the prevention of colorectal cancer… are warranted”.

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