Here's some good news for coffee-loving men and women: recent studies link heavy coffee drinking to lower risk of fatal prostate cancer, as well as a certain aggressive type of breast cancer.
Photo by Ahmed Rabea
We've seen before (in infographic format) some purported health benefits and risks associated with coffee drinking. Coffee's relationship to our health remains very complex and not well understood, but the two studies that came out this week both had similar conclusions: they didn't prove that coffee directly prevents these cancers, but there's a strong association between drinking a lot of coffee and lower risk.
The prostate cancer study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute was the largest of its kind and involved 48,000 men. Those who drank one to three cups a day had a 30 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer tumors; the men who drank drinking six or more cups a day had a 60 percent lower risk.
For the women in the Karolinksa Institutet study, drinking five cups of coffee a day was linked to a 20% decrease in overall breast cancer risk, after adjusting for participants' ages. There was a much stronger reduction in risk—57%—for a very aggressive type of breast cancer called estrogen-receptive negative cancers.
Again, researchers aren't advising you start drinking pots of coffee as cancer protection, but if you already drink a lot of coffee and have a family history of either of these cancers, the new research may be reassuring. The most conclusive message about the breast cancer study, WebMD writes, is that drinking coffee does not seem to increase breast cancer risk.
Does Coffee Cut Breast Cancer Risk? [WebMD]/ Coffee Linked to Lower Risk of Fatal Prostate Cancer [CNN Health]