Studies Tout Coffee's Ability to Reduce Cancer Risk

Susan Farley
Published Online: Friday, April 1, 2005

One study out of Japan and another from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that regular coffee consumption may very well reduce a person's risk of developing liver cancer. Researchers at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo surveyed almost 90,000 people between 1990 and 1994 and followed them through 2001, at which time 334 study participants were diagnosed with liver cancer. They found that the cancer risk was twice as high for those people who never drank coffee as compared with those who drank coffee on a daily basis. Researchers found no link between green tea consumption and the risk of liver cancer, which led them to believe that coffee has unique antioxidant properties that protect against liver cancer. The second study out of Boston reviewed data from 88,000 women in the Nurses'Health Study, beginning in 1976, and 46,000 men in the Health Professionals' Follow-Up Study, beginning in 1986. At the 1998 follow-up, there were 1433 cases of colorectal cancer. Researchers found that the incidence of rectal cancer was 58% higher among participants who reported never drinking decaffeinated coffee compared with those who reported drinking 2 or more cups per day. While the results were similar in both studies, additional research is needed to determine the link between decaffeinated coffee and a lower risk of rectal cancer.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.

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