Coffee linked to bowel cancer survival

24 August 2015 09:19

Four cups of coffee a day could prevent bowel cancer recurrence

Four cups of coffee a day could prevent bowel cancer recurrence

Coffee has the potential to boost a person's chances of surviving bowel cancer, research suggests.

Scientists in the United States have found that regular cups of caffeinated coffee can reduce the risk of recurrence.

It is the first study to link caffeine to a lower threat of bowel cancer returning.

Dose responsive

Nearly 1,000 treated patients were involved in the research.

Those who consumed four or more cups of coffee on a daily basis were 42% less likely to see their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers.

They were also 33% less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.

The researchers, led by Dr Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Centre at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, observed how the effect of coffee increased as more of the beverage was consumed.

One cup or less a day offered little protection, while two to three cups produced a more modest benefit.

But despite the dose responsive effect of coffee, Dr Fuchs is cautious about recommending it as a potential alternative treatment for people with bowel cancer.

He says coffee drinkers who are being treated for colon cancer should not stop, yet non-coffee drinkers wondering whether to start should discuss it with their physician first.

Effects of caffeine

Cancer patients can still enjoy life's little pleasures while undergoing treatment. Reading a book on a beach, for instance, is possible thanks to cancer travel insurance, which includes access to 24/7 emergency assistance.

Previous research has shown that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, which shares bowel cancer risk factors like obesity, a sugary, high calorie diet, and high levels of the hormone insulin.

The new results show the reduced risk of cancer recurrence and death was entirely the impact of caffeine, not other components in coffee.

But why caffeine has this protective effect remains unclear.

It is possible that caffeine consumption increases the body's sensitivity to insulin, which in turn may help reduce inflammation.

The Journal of Clinical Oncology published the findings.

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