A recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health provides evidence that drinking coffee can reduce a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. The article was published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on May 17, 2011. In the study, the researchers conducted a prospective analysis of 47,911 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The study participants were questioned regarding their coffee consumption between the years of 1986 to 2006 at four-year intervals. Of the nearly 48 thousand men, 5,035 men were identified who developed prostate cancer during this time period. There were 642 men who were identified as having aggressive prostate cancer, which was defined as a cancer that was fatal or that developed distant metastatic lesions. The researchers used statistical analysis to assess the correlation between coffee drinking and the development of prostate cancer. During 1986, the average amount of coffee consumed was 1.9 cups among all participants. The results were very remarkable and showed a protective effect for coffee drinkers, especially for those coffee drinkers who consumed the most amount of coffee. The more coffee that was drank the better the protective effect. Men who drank 1 to 3 cups of coffee per day lowered their risk of developing prostate cancer by 13 percent. Men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% less chance of developing prostate cancer. The protective effect of coffee was even greater for the aggressive form of prostate cancer. Men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had a 60% less chance of developing aggressive prostate cancer that was fatal or metastatic. The protective effects of coffee were found to be present whether the men drank caffeinated or non- caffeinated coffee. The authors concluded by stating that they observed an inverse association between coffee consumption and the development of lethal prostate cancer in men. The researchers postulated that coffee contains many biologically active compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. In addition, the authors stated that coffee contains compounds that effect glucose and insulin metabolism as well as sex hormone regulation. Drinking excessive amounts of coffee, can lead to anxiety, jitteriness, heart palpitations, and insomnia. For men with enlarged prostates, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, excessive amounts of coffee can exacerbate the condition, as it will cause increased urination and urge to urinate. In conclusion, men who feel guilty when consuming extra cups of coffee should at least keep in mind that it may save them from the development of prostate cancer.
Kathryn M. Wilson el. al. “Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study” JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2011) doi: 10.1093/jnci/djr151 First published online: May 17, 2011