For Joe Robins coffee is his lifeline. “I’ve got to have a cup in the morning before I leave and then I have a cup at work,” he said. “I probably drink a little too much of it actually but it’s what keeps me going in the morning.”
Now a new dieting study shows Robins’ coffee habit may be doing a little more than keeping him awake at his desk. According to the Harvard School of Public Health men who regularly drink coffee have a lower risk of prostate cancer.
“Few dieting studies have specifically studied the association of coffee intake and the risk of lethal prostate cancer, the form of the disease that is the most critical to prevent. Our dieting study is the largest to date to examine whether coffee could lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer,” said senior author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH. Lethal prostate cancer is cancer that causes death or spreads to the bones.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers with about two million American men suffering from it.
“At present we lack an understanding of risk factors that can be changed or controlled to lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer. If our findings are validated, coffee could represent one modifiable factor that may lower the risk of developing the most harmful form of prostate cancer,” said lead author Kathryn Wilson, a research fellow in epidemiology at HSPH.
Among the findings:
Men who consumed the most coffee (six or more cups daily) had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of prostate cancer.
The reduction in risk was seen whether the men drank decaffeinated or regular coffee, and does not appear to be due to caffeine.
Even drinking one to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer.