Coffee and Colon Cancer

We have discussed in this blog about the health benefits of coffee, and today we report on a research study just published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, reporting another benefit for coffee drinkers: a significantly lowered risk of cancer recurrence for people being treated for colon cancer.

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston), studied 953 colon cancer patients who had surgery and were being treated with chemotherapy. All of these individuals had fairly advanced cancers (Stage III), and each person reported about their daily diets during and for 6 months after completing chemotherapy.

The results were rather spectacular. The people who drank 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 52% lower risk of suffering a recurrent cancer or of dying during the study compared with non-coffee drinkers. Individuals who drank two to three cups per day enjoyed a 31% lower risk.

The researchers employed sophisticated statistical analysis to show that indeed the improved survival was due to the coffee, and not some other factor such as consumption of other beverages, physical activity, age, or alcohol intake.

This health benefit is impressive but not surprising, since other studies have suggested a lower risk of cancer in coffee drinkers. Coffee contains a large quantity of anti-oxidants, and has an overall anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Chronic inflammation is thought to be one factor that leads to cancers.

Coffee is also beneficial in the regulation of sugar and insulin metabolism. Coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of diabetes, and chronic high sugar and high insulin levels are other factors that predispose to cancer. Coffee seems to help make our insulin regulation system work more efficiently.

This study does not 100% prove that coffee prevent cancer or lowers the risk of recurrence, but it is strongly suggestive. Dr. Alfred Neugut, a professor of cancer research at Columbia University (New York), says that coffee drinkers are known to be more intense and obsessive about following through with tasks. So it may be that if they get a cancer, they may tend to be more careful about following up with their cancer care.

But while this study is not proof, it offers us another reason to consider drinking coffee. Coffee drinkers seem to enjoy a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, good studies show coffee may have strong anti-depressive properties, as coffee drinkers have a significantly lower suicide risk.

Is coffee an anti-depressant?

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)