August 29, 2012
A study of almost half-a-million people by the U.S. National Cancer Research Institute in Rockville, Maryland,concluded that drinking coffee can cut the risk of developing a tumour by between 15 per cent and 25 per cent.
Drinking several cups of coffee a day could help protect against bowel cancer, research suggests.
A study of almost half-a-million people concluded that the drinks can cut the risk of developing a tumour by between 15 per cent and 25 per cent.
Some previous studies have hinted that coffee could have a protective effect, but their findings have been inconclusive.
Researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Research Institute in Rockville, Maryland, have found evidence of a possible protective effect.
They looked at 490,000 people who agreed to have their health monitored for a decade, after answering questions about their way of life and diet in the mid-1990s.
Among the sixth who said they drank four or more cups a day, the risk of being diagnosed with bowel or rectal cancer over the decade was 15 per cent lower than non-drinkers of coffee. Among those who drank at least six cups a day, their risk was 24 per cent lower.
They concluded: “Additional investigations of coffee intake and its components in the prevention of colorectal cancer are warranted.”
Dr. Euan Paul, the executive director of the British Coffee Association, said: “It is particularly encouraging to see that coffee consumption may lower the risk of bowel cancer given that over 40,000 men and women are diagnosed with it in the U.K. every year, making it the third most common cancer.”
However, he said pregnant women should follow NHS advice to moderate their intake of caffeine to 200mg per day from all sources, as any more than that can increase the risk of miscarriage.
A spokesman for Beating Bowel Cancer, a charity, said the study was “inconclusive”.
He advised: “Anyone wanting to reduce their chance of bowel cancer should primarily make sure they have a healthy diet, take exercise, and stop smoking.”
Every year in Britain 40,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and it claims 16,000 lives annually.
In middle age, the disease disproportionately affects men, perhaps because of such lifestyle factors as eating more red and processed meat. If caught early, the chances of long-term survival are markedly better than if it is only diagnosed late, when it has spread.