This common beverage may reduce death risk in colon cancer

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In a recent study at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and elsewhere, researchers showed that in a large group of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, drinking a few cups of coffee a day was linked to longer survival and a lower risk of cancer worsening.

The findings suggest a connection between regular coffee drinking and improved outcomes in patients with colorectal cancer.

The study is published in JAMA Oncology. One author is Dana-Farber’s Chen Yuan, ScD.

In the study, the team found that in 1,171 patients treated for metastatic colorectal cancer, those who reported drinking two to three cups of coffee a day were likely to live longer overall, and had a long time before their disease worsened, than those who didn’t drink coffee.

Participants who drank larger amounts of coffee—more than four cups a day—had an even greater benefit in these measures. The benefits held for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

The findings enabled the researchers to establish an association, but not a cause-and-effect relationship, between coffee drinking and reduced risk of cancer progression and death among study participants.

As a result, the study doesn’t provide sufficient grounds for recommending, at this point, that people with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer start drinking coffee on a daily basis or increase their consumption of the drink.

The team says it’s known that several compounds in coffee have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other properties that may be active against cancer.

Previous studies have found that higher coffee intake was linked to improved survival in patients with stage 3 colon cancer.

Although it is premature to recommend a high intake of coffee as a potential treatment for colorectal cancer, the study suggests that drinking coffee is not harmful and may potentially be beneficial.

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