CaSfA - Cancer Support for All
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Coffee and Colon Cancer

Coffee addicts rejoice!! A number of reports in recent years have suggested coffee consumption may offer some protection against various types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer, melanoma, liver cancer, advanced prostate cancer and colon cancer. A recent study looking at coffee consumption in colon cancer patients provides more evidence of this effect.  From:
Observational studies have demonstrated increased colon cancer recurrence in states of relatively high blood insulin, including sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and increased dietary glycemic load. (Glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels.  High glycemic load foods will quickly raise blood glucose.) Greater coffee consumption has been associated with decreased risk of type 2 Diabetes and increased insulin sensitivity. The purpose of this study was to see if the effect on insulin from increased coffee intake could reduce colon cancer recurrence.
During and after 6 months of chemotherapy, 953 patients with stage III colon cancer (in the lymph nodes but not metastasized) reported dietary intake of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and non-herbal tea, as well as 128 other items. Researchers examined the influence of coffee, non-herbal tea, and caffeine on cancer recurrence and mortality
The greatest benefit of coffee consumption was seen in patients who drank four or more cups daily – about 460 milligrams of caffeine. These patients had a 42 percent lower rate of disease recurrence than those who didn’t drink coffee, and were 33 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.  Two to three cups of coffee daily had a more modest benefit, while little protection was associated with one cup or less. Neither non-herbal tea nor decaffeinated coffee intake was associated with these outcomes.
These associations between coffee and recurrence and survival were independent of other predictors of patient outcome, diet, and lifestyle factors. Moreover, the effect of total coffee intake was largely maintained across other known or suspected predictors of cancer recurrence.
This is the first study to examine the association between coffee intake and colon cancer recurrence and survival. The researchers hypothesize that coffee might reduce colon cancer recurrence through improved insulin sensitization and decreased blood insulin levels.
Upshot of this…if you drink 4 cups of coffee per day, your risk of recurrence of colon cancer (and perhaps other cancers too) may be lower. (More good news for coffee drinkers:  a recent study of over 6000 women that found drinking 3 cups of coffee per day may lower one’s risk of dementia ).  But if you don’t drink coffee should you start? The results of these studies may not provide enough evidence to do so….


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