Thursday, August 20, 2015

Drinking coffee may prevent colon cancer recurring after treatment

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 20, 2015 – Drinking three to four cups of caffeinated coffee a day may help prevent the return of colon cancer after treatment and improve the chances of a cure, according to a new, large study from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston. 

The study, led by Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber included nearly 1,000 patients who filled out dietary pattern questionnaires early in the study, during the time they were undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer, and again about a year later. This "prospective" design eliminated patients' need to remember their coffee-drinking habits years later.

All of the patients had been treated with surgery and chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer. Those consuming four or more cups of coffee a day (about 460 milligrams of caffeine) had the greatest benefit, according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. These patients were 42 percent less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 34 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.

As encouraging as the results appear to be, Fuchs is hesitant to make recommendations to patients until the results are confirmed in other studies. "If you are a coffee drinker and are being treated for colon cancer, don't stop," he said. "But if you're not a coffee drinker and wondering whether to start, you should first discuss it with your physician."

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