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Science: Study suggests decaf and caffeinated coffee consumption can reduced risk of rectal cancer

According to researchers at University of Southern California (USC), both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee can potentially decreases the risk of colorectal cancer.

In April 2016, the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of Keck Medicine department of the University of Southern California examined:

- 5,100 men and women diagnosed with colorectal cancer

- 4000 men and women with no history of colorectal cancer as a control group

The scientists studied:

  • Their daily consumption of espresso, instant, decaffeinated and/or filtered coffee
  • Their total consumption of other liquids#
  • Information about many other factors e.g. family history of cancer, diet, physical activity and smoking

What were the results?

The results showed that all coffee consumption was linked with reduced risks of colorectal cancer:

-  1-2 servings of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee a day - 26 percent reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer even after adjusting for known risk factors.

- 2.5 servings or more caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee a day - 50 percent reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer even after adjusting for known risk factors.

What were the conclusions of the study?

"We found that drinking coffee is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer, and the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk… We were somewhat surprised to see that caffeine did not seem to matter” said Stephen Gruber, MD, PhD, MPH, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"The levels of beneficial compounds per serving of coffee vary depending on the bean, roast and brewing method…the good news is that our data presents a decreased risk of colorectal cancer regardless of what flavor or form of coffee you prefer", said first author Stephanie Schmit, PhD.

Why & how does decaf or caffeinated coffee help reduce the risk?

Coffee contains many elements that contribute to overall colorectal health and may explain the preventive properties as follows:

  • Caffeine and polyphenol can act as antioxidants, limiting the growth of potential colon cancer cells
  • Melanoidins generated during the roasting process have been hypothesized to encourage colon mobility
  • Diterpenes may prevent cancer by enhancing the body's defence against oxidative damage

 

Published in April 1, 2016 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention by the American Association of Cancer Research.

 

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