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Study links coffee to lower risk of prostate cancer progression

A new study has suggested that coffee consumption could help to prevent prostate cancer from progressing or recurring in patients who already have the disease.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre interviewed 1,001 prostate cancer survivors aged between 35 and 74 years old about their diet and beverage consumption for the past two years.

The patients were then followed up for at least five years so that their diet and nutrition could continue to be monitored.

It was found that men who drank four or more cups of coffee per day were 59 per cent less likely to see their cancer return or progress than those who only consumed one cup a week or less. There was no associated reduction of the disease in tea drinkers.

Dr Janet Stanford, one of the authors of the study, said in the journal Cancer Causes & Control that more work will now be done to determine why this might be the case.

However, it's thought that the phytochemical compounds found in coffee could have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, while other ingredients may help to slow cancer cell growth.

The study follows past research from Harvard's Health Professionals Follow-up, which showed men who drank six or more cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of metastatic prostate cancer by 60 per cent compared to coffee abstainers.

Although cancer charities and analysts have pointed out that the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre was only a small study and had some limitations, it is sure to raise hopes that there could one day be a cure for prostate cancer – and it may be that it comes from coffee beans.

In the UK, the disease will affect around one in eight men at some point in their lives, so let's hope this occurs sooner rather than later.

In July, the Preventive and Clinical Investigations Centre in Paris carried out research that suggested people who drink coffee may be less likely to have high blood pressure than those who never enjoy a cup.